Gypsy guitar jazz is hot at weddings and cocktail parties!

Published November 16th, 2016 by Devteam

As a professional guitarist who has played several thousand gigs, I've played a lot of different styles over the years. As a young teenager I learned by listening to surf rock, r and b, blues, Beatles,Cream, Hendrix, Zappa, Motown, and funk, as well as a little jazz via the Brazil 66 influence. I even played Girl from Ipanema with the band we hired for our senior prom!

During college I got serious about playing in bands, and eventually became a full time musician. First it was original hard rock, touring, recording, and chasing the dream. After a recording contract that went nowhere it was time to figure out how to make a living gigging. That meant learning as many styles as possible, whether I liked them or not!

There is one style, however, that I never learned, simply because there was no demand for it, and very little of it on the radio or in record stores. That style is generally called Gypsy Jazz and was championed by guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli in a band called Hot Club France.

In the last couple of decades interest has grown in this music and now you can hear musicians playing this style here in Cambridge MA a club called The Burren. The most common format is violin, two guitars, and upright bass. It's a very bright style of music and very upbeat.

My point in mentioning this is that while I do incorporate a few gypsy tunes in my solo appearance, I have been successfully booking a couple of these bands locally on jobs that would normally have gone to a more generic jazz group, like sax, bass, and keys. This style will keep your guests entertained without overwhelming them, or putting them to sleep with tired old jazz ballads.

If you want a change of pace for your function, I highly recommend this option.


The one and only Django Reinhardt. Notice the gnarled fingers burned in a fire.

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