Gypsy Jazz Chords For Fingerstyle Blues

 

Gypsy Jazz And String (Tie) Theory

As a steel guitar player in the early 1990s, I went through a brief but unfortunate bolo tie phase, one in which I found confirmation of the notion "like attracts like." Which is to say, once the news is out you're partial to the occasional string-tie, more and more of them seem to make their way into the old top dresser drawer, logical gifts from well-meaning friends, colleagues and relatives.

On occasion this phenomenon bears happier fruit, like the time in high school my aunt and uncle put a pair of Django Reinhardt LPs in the mail for my sixteenth birthday. Word had gone round the family of my guitar-playing proclivities, and so, my cousin having a friend who knew of such things, said friend recommended the Django records as essential intel for any aspiring fretmeister. Few more enlightening or enjoyable surprises have come my way on that day of the year, before or since.

Owning Quintet of the Hot Club of France albums didn't actually make me a gypsy jazzer, although if I'd heard Stephane Grapelli do his thing just a year or two sooner I might be sending this email out to a list of nothing but stone cold jazz fiddle aficionados. Nevertheless, it gave me an enduring appreciation for Reinhardt and the Quintet, and this week's lesson involves folding a handful of Django-inspired chord voicings into an otherwise blues-based (what else?) A minor groove as a means of escaping open position.

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