Gypsy jazz guitaristDjango Reinhardt was the first famous European jazz musician.
Born in Belgium (that's where the .be in www.jazzguitar.be comes from) and raised in a gypsy camp near Paris he first learned to play violin, but later switched to banjo-guitar.At the age of 12 Django Reinhardt played good enough to play professionally.
In 1928 disaster struck and the 3rd and 4rd fingers of his left hand got mutilated in a caravan fire, but Django developed a new fingering system and by 1930 he was playing again in Paris' cafes. In Montemartre he heard records of American jazz players like Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong and he absorbed their music.
In 1934 he met Stephane Grappelli, a violin player with whom he founded 'Quintette du Hot Club de France'. 'Nuages' and 'Minor Swing' are some famous Django Reinhardt compositions. Django Reinhardt became the icon of gypsy jazz guitar.
Recommended listening: 'The Best of Django Reinhardt [Capitol/Blue Note]'
Read the full bio and more about Django Reinhardt's guitar technique: Django Reinhardt
This lick is brilliant in it's simplicity. Sometimes I wonder why I don't come up with licks like these myself all the time.
It starts with a chromatic leap to the 9 of E7, followed by an E7 arpeggio. On the Am Django plays a A minor triad with an added 9. This is a nice idea to avoid playing too much 7th arpeggio's in your improvisations. Make your own personal arpeggio's : take a triad and add a 9 or an 11 or leave out the 5th and replace it with a tension.
The following tabs are a sample transcription from Django's 'Nuages' (click and scroll down to listen to a sample mp3). The lick is played in the Hungarian gypsy scale (1 2 b3 #4 5 b6 7). In the second bar Django Reinhardt plays a major 3. Mixing between minor and major thirds is a sound you can hear a lot in oriental styles of music.