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May 2014
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Style Guide: Django Reinhardt and Gypsy Jazz

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Style Guide: Django Reinhardt and Gypsy Jazz

We can fill out the previous voicings by adding a note on the 2nd string to each chord shape, as illustrated in Fig. 7. In doing so, we add the 5 to the minor 6 chord and the 9 to the dominant 7 voicing. The shape we’re using to play Bb7 has the 5 added to it, as well. Try playing the progression in Fig. 6 with these expanded voicings.

Django also recorded American jazz standards. Here are a few voicings we’ll need to play some of these standards. Let’s start with a minor 7 voicing that flows nicely into the rootless dominant 9 we’ve just learned. In Fig. 8, the chords Gm7 and C9 create a common progression found in jazz standards called the IIm-V progression.

Next, we’ll add the tonic (or I chord), which in this case is an F major chord, to this progression to create a IIm-V-I progression. We could use a barred F chord, but we can spice it up a bit by adding the 6 to the triad to create an F6 chord. The 6 is a common tone added to the triad, not only for comping but also for solo lines. (We’ll explore the latter a bit later.) In Fig. 9, you can see a few useful major 6 voicings.

Apply these chords to the A section of “Honeysuckle Rose,” as shown in Fig. 10. Use the first voicing in Fig. 9 to play the F6 in this example.

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