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Thread: Grappelli style harmonics in swing jazz?

  1. #1
    Registered User BillWilliams's Avatar
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    Default Grappelli style harmonics in swing jazz?

    While we do have 12 or so natural harmonics available on the mandolin, I haven't heard them employed as freely as violinists use them in swing jazz.

    Grappelli in particular (e.g. 1.00 to 1.04 below) used them a lot.
    Any recommendations as to who I should listen to/pick up phrases from?


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    Registered User Bruce Clausen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grappelli style harmonics in swing jazz?

    Yeah, that flurry of harmonics was one of Grapelli's trademark moves. Playing with a bow you can bring out clearly even the higher harmonics (like the fifth and fourth fret guitar harmonics), and sustain them. I don't know of any mandolinist who uses them in Grapelli's way.

    Great to see Sacha Distel in action! I only know him from the old album he made with the MJQ around 1957— I spent a lot of time listening to that one back in my teens.
    Last edited by Bruce Clausen; Feb-24-2024 at 1:54pm.

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    Default Re: Grappelli style harmonics in swing jazz?

    There are a number of videos with Distel available on YouTube.

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    Registered User BillWilliams's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grappelli style harmonics in swing jazz?

    Encountering Sacha Distel originally as a middle of the road crooner, I was surprised when I learnt that he had been a decent jazz guitarist and had composed two classic songs: The Good Life and Ma Premiere Guitare

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    Default Re: Grappelli style harmonics in swing jazz?

    Distel is Ray Ventura's nephew. His uncle had a great role in launching jazz in France and led a band which included Henri Salvador who said he has taught his first chords to Sacha before seing the latter becomiming a better guitarist than him. This gave Sacha the opportunity to met and even to play with Django. He said that a record together was planned but Django has died before.

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    Default Re: Grappelli style harmonics in swing jazz?

    The harmonic avalanche is indeed a Grappelli trademark -- so integrated into his style that when another violinist suddenly playing a "harmonic flurry" in the middle of a solo, it so rarely sounds organic to the solo (usually cause it isn't).

    However, there are examples of violinists playing solos in harmonics. Didier Lockwood does some of that on his...Tribute to Grappelli album. The entire album is amazing.

    Quote Originally Posted by BillWilliams View Post
    While we do have 12 or so natural harmonics available on the mandolin, I haven't heard them employed as freely as violinists use them in swing jazz.

    Grappelli in particular (e.g. 1.00 to 1.04 below) used them a lot.
    Any recommendations as to who I should listen to/pick up phrases from?


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