Minor Swing

Guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli unwittingly launched a distinctive European jazz tradition — le Jazz Manouche, or "Gypsy jazz" — when they began jamming on American jazz tunes backstage in 1930's Paris. Minor Swing is perhaps their most recognized tune, and the first that many many players learn when they approach this style. You can see why: simple chords, a simple melody and all the room in the world for soloing.

Django recorded Minor Swing at least 5 times. We'll feature two of them here. First, you can hear the full version of the tune at the normal speed. The second clip of each tune consists of two choruses of Django's solo slowed down by 50% for closer study if you wish.

First, let's listen to the original recording with Stephane on violin, recorded in 1937. Level 3 players should recognize the opening lines of Django's first solo, which we quote in the first of ours.

Audio Clip: Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli play Minor Swing, 1937.

Audio clip: 2 choruses at half speed. (Our level 3 solo quotes the first.)

The second is from 10 years later, 1947, when Django was playing electric guitar with clarinetist Hubert Rostaing.

Audio Clip: Minor Swing, 1947.

Audio Clip: 2 choruses at half speed. (Our level 3 solo quotes the 2nd.)


Recommended Recordings

The JSP box sets below (on the left) are a great value, (as is the third volume in that series). For those who want a nice sampling of each of the three broad periods of Django's career, the Retrospective includes not only great music, but a nice booklet as well.