At 30 thousand subscribers and counting, Adrian Holovaty’s youtube channel has been going strong since 2007. You’ll find all sorts of music there, from fingerstyle arrangements of Beatles tunes to Aerosmith covers to…well, this: a gypsy jazz arrangement of the Super Mario Odyssey theme song, “Jump Up, Super Star!” Listen up, o ye doubters.
Formerly Chicagoans, Adrian and his family have been living in Amsterdam for a several years now and I fear we may may never get them back. Hard to compete with a city with sane transportation, really good sandwiches, and health care for all. Plus, there are gigs to be had with great GJ musicians, and Adrian is playing a bunch. A little known fact is that in Holland, Gypsy jazz is played the way old-time music is in the States: a few people play the chords and then everyone else just plays the melody in unison, endlessly. Here’s Adrian leading one such session at the Café Langereis in Amsterdam.
OK, I lied. Everybody doesn’t always play the melody in unison at Gypsy jazz jams in Holland. In case you don’t know, those guitarists are playing Django’s 1939 solo on “I’ll See You In My Dreams.” Learning solos note for note that way has long been one way guitarists learn the idiomatic improvisational vocabulary (and for many, the right hand technique) that helps define the genre of jazz manouche.
Virtually every artist we’ve ever hosted at Django in June learned that way. They did so the hard, old-fashioned, excellent way—working from CD’s or even vinyl. Nowadays we have more excellent options, including Adrian’s main project, Soundslice. It says right here on their FAQ page that “Soundslice is a platform for learning music via interactive music notation. Our goal is to be the best way to learn any piece of music.”
If that piece of music you’re wanting to learn happens to be a solo—or maybe just a classy lick—from Django Reinhardt or his many musical descendants, you’ll find a whole bunch to work with on Soundslice, including Adrian’s personal page, where he regularly uploads musical morsels you might try to digest. Work hard enough at it and you too may get invited to work with Gypsy jazz legends, like Aerosmith.