On the third Thursday of every month from 6 to 7:30pm, as well as the first Sunday from 2 to 4pm, commencing on January 18th, a delightful gathering known as the Django Jam takes place. Weather permitting, this melodic affair may even extend beyond its scheduled timeframe, enchanting the ears of all who are fortunate enough to attend.
Experienced musicians and aspiring players gather at the Django Jam to immerse themselves in the captivating world of gypsy jazz. The initial half-hour of the gathering is dedicated to honing skills and exchanging valuable tips, aiding those less acquainted with the genre in their journey to mastery. The ultimate goal: creating a vibrant gypsy jazz community within the heart of Canberra.
Reverence for the genre is paramount. Our intimate gathering revolves around gypsy jazz, paying homage to the eloquent and virtuous style of the legendary Django Reinhardt. Please refrain from amplifiers, drums, and percussion. Allow the "La pompe" guitars, alongside the double bass, violin, clarinet, and accordion, to compose the percussive and melodic foundation of this enchanting genre. Should you find yourself wielding a flute, mandolin, saxophone, fear not, for they too harmoniously intertwine. We extend a warm embrace to vocals, provided they remain within the stylistic repertoire (for the easiest road to success, get to know the gypsy jazz melodies that can be sung in the standard key as stated in the Django Fakebook – check it out below).
Should our ranks swell, rotation will be our ally (yet never exceeding 6-7 players at a time). Offer your soul through 2-3 songs before granting another the chance to shine. Should an unfamiliar tune perplex your virtuosity, kindly abstain from solos, instead lending your talents in a harmonious accompaniment at a hushed amplitude. If you do not know the tune, consider momentarily savouring the music from the sidelines, affording other players the space to weave their melodies (and perhaps taking the opportunity to acquaint yourself with the unfamiliar composition before our next gathering).
While the Django Jam caters to players of various skill levels and experiences within the gypsy jazz style, its main purpose is not to serve as a guitar lesson. There are now numerous resources available online, both paid and free, that can assist anyone in learning this style of music. Exceptional educators can easily be found on the internet, with platforms like YouTube and other social media outlets being home to talented individuals such as Denis Chang, Robin Nolan, Sven Jungbeck, Yaakov Hoter, Christiaan van Hemert, and many others. There are also several guitar teachers who offer various forms of lessons.
SONGS & PREPARATION
A collection of 24 essential gypsy jazz classics (Volume 1) awaits (featuring notations, tablatures, chord shapes, backing tracks, and illuminating video examples). This curated treasury may be discovered here providing a comprehensive resource for your musical odyssey. Additionally, indulge in the Django Fakebook, a coveted compendium of over 200 songs, brimming with chord charts, ensuring no melodic stone remains unturned.
For further enlightenment on the intricacies of gypsy jazz jam sessions, kindly direct your inquiries to this invaluable source of wisdom.