J’attendrai: Melodic Beauty and Grace in Performance

J’attendrai is one of those songs that, when you first hear it, you want to play it on the guitar and sing it in performance.  The melody is perfect.  I have yet to see a performance of the song that didn’t glide with a gracious humanity.

Translated from French as — “I Will Wait” — J’attendrai was first made popular in 1938 by Rina Ketty and was written by Dino Olivier and Nino Rastelli.  J’attendrai is the hallmark song for the start of World War II as people all over the world prepared for an uncertain and dramatic future:

I will wait night and day,
I will wait forever,
For you to come back, I will wait, [I will wait]
For the bird flying away
Comes to seek oblivion in its nest.
Time flies and runs,
Beating sadly in my oh so heavy heart
And yet I will wait for you to come back

The most resonant, historic, performance of J’attendrai belongs to magnificent Jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and expert violinist Stéphane Grappelli.

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The Yaakov Hoter Gypsy Jazz School Review

Gypsy Jazz is one of the niches of Jazz I have been exploring with great fascination and delight.  I love the dynamism of the Gypsy Jazz performance and the energetic specificity of the Gypsy Jazz guitars, Gypsy Jazz guitar picks and Gypsy Jazz guitar strings to make the mechanical bits become the encompassing human whole.

Gypsy Jazz is a whole ecosystem unto itself and that’s why I decided to try to find an online teacher to help me quickly navigate the rules and the peculiarities of the Gypsy Jazz performance method.

I was lucky to discover Yaakov Hoter’s outstanding Gypsy Jazz School teaching portal where you can learn with him in universal private lessons you download.  Yaakov is based in Israel, but due to the wonder of the internets, you can study with him right in your living room, in your own time, at your own will.  The beauty of web teaching is in its inherent asynchronous learning systems.

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The Wegen Gypsy Jazz Pick Review

Over the past three years, my musical journey has been led by a string of guitars, and documented here for you in Boles Blues.  You’ve traveled with me from the Blues and the Black Cat Bone to Jimmy Bruno Jazz and now into the whole new realm of “Gypsy Jazz.”

The patriarch of Gypsy Jazz Guitar is Django Reinhardt who played his way into history despite a fire accident that crippled two fingers on his left hand.  Gypsy Jazz guitar uses a unique and athletic playing style and requires a special guitar, strings and even picks if you want to be historically correct!

I have done a lot of guitar pick reviews, and I know different picks create unique tones and influence playing style.  One thing I noticed studying Gypsy Jazz guitar videos on YouTube is that many of the performers use the same white guitar pick.  Deeper investigation led me to learn those picks are made by Wegen especially for Gypsy Jazz:

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Dunlop Jazz Tone 204 and 205 Picks Review

Dunlop makes a lot of great guitar gear and in this Boles Blues blog, we’ve previously reviewed the Dunlop Delrin picks and the Dunlop Ultex picks.  I don’t use picks much anymore now that I’ve moved on to chord melody and Jazz, but for those days when I need that “pick sound” I really like the Dunlop Jazz Tone 204 and 205 picks a friend sent me.

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