I was introduced to German Gypsy Jazz Gymnast Joscho Stephan last summer, and it struck such a harmonious chord (pun intended) that my blog, Skip to this... was born. See, the idea was already there, I had built the blog and possesed tons of tunes to share. I just needed something, someone, to stir my soul enough to unlock the doorway between my head and heart. I needed inspiration, a muse, to coax my words out of hiding, shake them loose and allow me to dance my own special jig down the hallways of the bloggesphere. And, oh man, once the door was open, it was imposssible to close! Since this post, I've learned a thing or two, had tons of muiscal adventure and really enjoyed being in touch with so many wonderfully talented, warm hearted and just plain cool musicians.
This one goes out to everyone who has joined me on my musical meander this year (and throughout my life). Too many to list here but you know who you are 😘.
Heres how it went down.
Skip to this...
6 am and all is quiet. The kitchen is black and so is my tea... earbuds in, phone in hand, let the journey begin.
As soon as I cue up this track (sent to me by a dear audiophile), I know it's perfection. It hits that spot in my musical soul that's been there since before I could walk. That place that swung my baby head right and left, clapped my hands and made my parents giggle proudly as I danced to my fathers favorite musical delights... It was always jazz, always pure, always vinyl and always swingin'.
But the journey doesn't end there. Gypsy jazz... Gypsy jazz... The name of this genre feels so new in my mind but the music itself really really doesn't. Where, when, how...?
Despite my need to spectate (a word?) and watch Joscho Stephan's fingers command that fret board - I need to remember and my eyes must be closed.
In my memory, I begin to see it. I remember now - at least something.... In a crowd that we stumbled upon in Montreal - I remember thinking "so lucky.... A jazz festival... I didn't even plan this! " and even if I had, it would have made that drive from North Carolina all the way to this spot in exotic Montreal worth it. Gypsy jazz. And we all loved it - I remember hearing the crowd mumbling beautifully in French- and the only word that jumped out at me - Django - repeated in my ears - I repeated it in my mind....
I made note - research must be done, but the adventures that followed that perfectly unplanned night pushed that name, Django, out of my memory....
Now, with a teeny handheld super curiosity quencher in hand (my phone) - I search and find.
Google search: Gypsy Jazz
Results : Joscho Stephan... Django Reinhardt.... Gypsy jazz.... Gypsy swing... Manouche Jazz... Manouche jazz festival of Montreal...
Aha! I was there then, on a clandestine car trip over the Canadian border.
Now, listening to Mr. Stephan's swoon, I am transported, simultaneously, to childhood memories and more present adventures. Symbiotically linked as only thoughts and dreams can be, like an amorphous and illogical cloud that fills the gaps between reality and recollection.
And I will say... with the understanding that ALL MUSIC is an expression of someone's soul, someone's story... And is always worthy of respect. Yes. But THIS MUSIC, in my opinion (and I'm sure I will say this again of another genre in the future... I'm not fickle just open hearted)
THIS MUSIC is the stuff....
In order to play gypsy jazz the artist must have a heart and soul filled...overflowing... with music, a mind with depth and humor.... And fingers with strong discipline.
Real-yet superhuman... And I love superheroes 🙂.
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Maybe you'll learn how to play Gypsy Jazz!