We are so pleased that Will Patton will be able to join us for Django in June again this year. Although the mandolin has not historically been associated with Gypsy jazz, there is no reason whatsoever why that should remain the case from here on out. Mando players on both sides of the Atlantic have begun to adapt their playing styles to the genre, (and the genre, to them), most notably on this year's David Grisman/Stephane Wrembel collaboration, Gypsy Rumble. We aim to help the process along by providing real learning opportunities for our 8-stringed friends over the course of the weekend, with two offerings at each of two levels. We have also added several hours of facilitated djamming to the schedule for those who would like that structure. These djams will be hosted by our good friend Dennis Chang of Montreal and they are free of charge for registered Django in June participants.
Will has been playing the mandolin for over 40 years, as well as acoustic and electric bass, guitar and piano. He has performed all over the US and Canada, and is a frequent visitor to Paris, where he performs and records with Ninine Garcia and other gypsy players of the Chope des Puces.
Besides gypsy jazz, Will plays Brazilian choros as well as straight ahead jazz, rock, folk and bluegrass. His bands have opened for Ray Charles, Bonnie Raitt and Van Morrison. He has three fine Cd's to his credit: Latitudes and Departures and Peripherique and his most recent, String Theory. He makes his home in northern Vermont surrounded by a very musical family.
Here are the clinics Will will be offering at each of 2 levels:
Fretboard basics: Learning where songs live on the mandolin fingerboard
We'll take a logical look at the entire fingerboard of this most logical instrument, playing arpeggios and scales up and down the neck and discovering the repeated patterns or 'shapes' that run through them all. We'll learn how to form any major or minor arpeggio and scale anywhere on the neck. Then, using these new visualization tools, we'll learn a simple tune from the Gypsy Jazz repertoire and begin to explore how these shapes can guide us into soloing within the tune. Handouts will be available.
In this workshop we'll learn some of the simpler jazz chords used in the Gypsy tunes - major 6ths and 7ths, dominant chords, minor 7ths and diminished chords. Emphasis will be on stringing groups of chords together. We'll look at some of the more complex chords a bit, as well as learning how to play some of these on the mandolin using open strings, making them easy to finger. Then we'll learn the chords to a tune commonly played in a Gypsy jam and work on applying the 'pompe', the typical rhythm feel to this tune. Handouts of all chords will be available.
Improvising Over the Changes:
Saturday 1:30 - 3:30
As improvisation is at the heart of the Gypsy jazz tradition, we'll approach the basics of soloing over the chords of a tune. We'll look at arpeggios, scale patterns, and some specific gypsy devices such as chromatic runs and sweep picking. We'll explore the harmonic minor scale and arpeggios such as minor 6th and diminished runs. Then we'll listen to and read (handouts available) a transcribed solo by Django and analyze the patterns and devices he employed in his playing. We'll also touch on the musette style of playing and explore what gives these waltzes their rich harmonic texture.
Rhythm and the pompe
Sunday, 10:30 - 12:30
In this class we'll look at all kinds of chords, many new voicings and specific mandolin-centric ways of playing the chords used in Gypsy repertoire. Emphasis will be on running patterns together, such as the ii - V - I and I - 6 - ii - V patterns, as well as more choromatic approaches, and developing speed in playing these common progressions. We'll look at a few specific tunes and explore which voicings and combinations work best to smoothly play through the changes. We'll also spend some time with the 3/4 rhythms of the musette style and learn the backup to a typical musette waltz.
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Dr. Joseph Santry