Friday, March 9, 2018

From Licks To Riffs At The Guitar

Notation of a simple guitar lick
In popular music genres such as blues, jazz or rock music, a lick is a stock pattern or phrase consisting of a short series of notes used in solos and melodic lines and accompaniment. In a jazz band, a lick may be performed during an improvised solo, either during an accompanied solo chorus or during an unaccompanied solo break. Jazz licks are usually original short phrases which can be altered so they can be used over a song's changing harmonic progressions. A lick is different from the related concept of a riff, as riffs can include repeated chord progressions. Licks are more often associated with single-note melodic lines than with chord progressions. Riffs can be as simple as a tenor saxophone honking a simple, catchy rhythmic figure, or as complex as the riff-based variations in the head arrangements played by the Count Basie Orchestra.  However, like riffs, licks can be the basis of an entire song. For musicians, learning a lick is usually a form of imitation. Imitating style is as important as learning the appropriate scale over a given chord. By imitating, musicians understand and analyze what others have done, allowing them to build a vocabulary of their own. (info excerpted from Wikipedia, here)

Ton Van Bergeijk
So many words to announce a new course by Dutch master guitarist, Ton Van Bergeijk, who has just released a DVD based guidebook entitled Licks to Riffs with focus on the blues style and how to adapt any lick to any chord changes at the guitar. Ton explains the project more precisely in the video below

In the video Ton stated, quote: ”I've always found that licks played on other instruments are a great source of inspiration for guitarists. Pianists like Jimmy Yancey or James Booker are at the top of my personal list. For stronger riffs, I look at the great riff orchestras: Count Basie, Al Cooper, and then there's T-Bone Walker, Louis Jordan, Allen Toussaint…musical sources for “riff-spiration” is virtually endless. (-) Of course, we can translate the lick to guitar, and then play the lick exactly as it was played, over the same chord or chord changes. But if we change just one or more notes, we can create new licks that can be used over other chords and chord changes. I’ll show you how to do that in this Licks To Riffs Guidebook.”
DVD course (TrueFire, 2018)
According to the inserted video and further info at the website offering the course for purchase, Ton has organized the course into two sections. In the first section, you’ll learn how to make a lick fit over the three chords in a standard blues progression. Ton will show you how to "barbershop" a lick and turn it into a riff. Then, he'll demonstrate how easy it is to make changes to that lick for a jazzier blues. In the second section, Ton will teach a selection of his own favorite licks that he has transformed into versatile riffs.  Learning how to get the most of any lick is the key objective of this course to generate  “riff-spiration” for other guitarists. - More info about the DVD course and how to purchase a copy, here

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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Lammy Bruyns Combo - Swing Musette & Chansons, Live CD

CD front: Lammy Bruyns Combo - Swing Musette & Chansons (live, 2017)
Lammy Bruyns is an acknowledged accordionist in Holland known for her virtuosity in the Parisian Musette music as well as for her singing. About five years ago Lammy met Georg Lankester, guitarist in the gypsy-swing style, who had published a book about Django Reinhardt’s influence on the Musette-rhythm. During their first meeting Lammy, Georg and some friends spontaneously played a bit together and then Lammy suggested to form a combo. The Lammy Bruyns Combo is a quartet consisting of Lammy Bruyns (accordion and vocal), Georg Lankester ((solo) guitar), Arthur Siero (guitar) and Jan Miedendorp de Bie (double bass). The repertoire of this quartet includes original Musette waltzes, (music in which Lammy is an expert) - and all these backed up in a highly swinging rhythm like it was played in the 1930s and 1940s' Paris. Moreover some American popular songs are added as well as famous French chansons and own compositions.
Lammy Bruyns Combo in performance
In October 2017 the combo gave a concert in the Northern part of Holland which was recorded for an enthousiastic audience. From this concert a selection of the recordings was chosen in order to present a variety of the repertoire by the Lammy Bruyns Combo in a just released CD, shown above. The CD includes original French Musette waltzes, some ballads as well as examples of Django swing from the 1930s and 1940s. Tracklist: Style Musette / September Song / Indifférence / It had to be you / Vous et Moi / Lady be Good / Ma première Guitare / Mr. Sandman / Pour Jo / Chez Jacquet / You made me love you / Les yeux noirs. - A couple of audio clippings from the CD are inserted in the video below

Next to live performances in Holland – starting from 2017 – the Combo also gives concerts in Germany.
Lammy Bruyns Combo in Germany
The music of the Lammy Bruyns Combo with a French touch will bring listeners back to the Parisian cabarets of the 1930s and 1940s and certainly invites to dancing as well as a cozy atmosphere in good company.

For any information, send an e-mail to:

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Announcement of Importance for Researchers/Collectors of Hit of The Week/Flexible Records Material

Hans Koert, who passed away in September 2014, was a passionated jazz collector and the author of the Hit of the Week and Durium Discography.

This entry is to inform you that Hans Koert's collection and archives of the HoW/Flexible Records now have been handed over to the files of the Doctor Jazz Foundation in The Netherlands.

For interested researchers/collectors it is possible to contact the Doctor Jazz Foundation for further information using the following link

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Spanish Swat - Morton's Music Revitalized In A Duo Setting

Jelly Roll Morton
Jelly Roll Morton emphazised the importance of the 'Spanish tinge' as an inevitable ingredient in jazz referring to the influence of the habanera and the Caribbean tango in the rhythm pattern of compositions worthy of the term jazz. Morton's solo piano renditions of compositions of his own like i.e. 'New Orleans Joys', 'Mamanita', 'Creepy Feeling' and not least the perhaps best know example: 'The Crave' are all elaborated pieces of music which demonstrate his conception of the Spanish tinge. The legendary 1938 Library of Congress recordings contain some examples which Morton did not record commercially, among them 'Spanish Swat' in focus here to announce a great contemporary project initiated by pianist Andrew Oliver and reed player David Horniblow. The duo has started a project to play all of Morton's compositions in a duo setting and record the performance in a video format to be uploaded at You Tube; here's the duo's rendition of Morton's 'Spanish Swat' - from the latest update of the project uploaded earlier today

As mentioned, the duo intends to play and record all of Morton's compositions in this setting - the project estimates to have two new compositions uploaded every week this year. You can read more about the project at Andrew Oliver's website, and subscribe to the videos at the You Tube channel devoted to the project, here. Up till now 12 videos have already been uploaded - and what a thrill to have free access to these contemporary renditions of Morton's music, revitalized by two great musicians. Do not hesitate to subscribe to the video channel and learn more about the duo at Andrew Oliver's website

I'll insert another example of the duo's fine video performance to end this, here's Andrew Oliver and David Horniblow's rendition of Morton's 'Mamanita'


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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Debut CD of Les Guitares Magiques

CD front: Les Guitares Magiques (SABAM, LGM 17-1) (2017)
A couple of years ago, while preparing an article on Les Loups and the duo's recording of the tango Guitarra que llora, I had the good fortune to discover a contemporary version of the tune uploaded at YouTube, which convincingly recreated the original 1928 recording by Gastón Bueno Lobo and Oscar Alemán. The recorded performance of this re-take of Guitarra que llora was made by a Belgian trio named Les Guitares Magiques and I still count this performance as a magical exsample of music played by very skilled musicians who know and respect their roots. The video performance is certainly good enough to have a reprise here

The video was published February 2015 and the trio consisted of Raf Timmermans playing conventional guitar, René Stock on double bass and Gijs Hollebosch playing lap steel guitar. The trio had uploaded a couple more videos featuring Hawaiian inspired music, which confirmed my impression of a talented ensemble. I subscribed to the video channel of LGM and recently discovered another re-take of a Les Loups recording by  Raf Timmermans and Gijs Hollebosch inserted below

This performance by Les Guitares Magiques of the waltz Ramona excellently recreates the 1928 version of the tune by Les Loups and made me wish for more. Fortunately, there is more music by Les Guitares Magiques available. In the notes with the Ramona video published October last year it is stated that the debut CD by the ensemble has been issued. I found it available at the website of Les Guitares Magiques, and here is the tracklist of featured music at the disc
CD track list
At the CD Les Guitares Magiques feature Raf Timmermans playing National steel, acoustic guitar, mandolin, slack key and ukulele, Gijs Hollebosch playing Hawaiian steel guitar, acoustic guitar, mandolin, ukulele and tiple and further Mathias Moors playing double bass.
(l-r): Raf Timmermans, Mathias Moors, Gijs Hollebosch (photo by Walter-PETROSA-Cuyvers)
Les Guitares Magiques invited some guests to perform and record together at the CD, they are: Jan De Smet featuring vocal and ukulele on track 3, Maarten Flamand (acoustic guitar) on track 4 and 10, Frederik Goossens (ukulele) on track 5, 6 and 9, Johnny Joris (vocal, banjo) on track 8, Esther Lybeert (vocal) on track 13 and Guido Belcanto (vocal) on track 15. The repertoire is a mixed bag of tunes and songs, many of them associated with the Hawaiian hype that swept the world in the first decades of the previous century such as the arrangements of Singing The Blues (track 5) and Wringin' and Twistin' (track 10) (in the Sol Hoopii style), Ghost Dance (a strange lap steel exercise originally recorded by the Truett & George Hawaiian duo), the Kohala march medley (track 6), three tunes from the Les Loups repertoire (besides Ramona in track 7, you have La Porteña es una Papa in track 11 and Criollita in track 12), Kostas Bézos' The False Kisses of Women in track 4, two songs associated with Gino Bordin: the French chanson J'écoute la Guitare (with vocal by Esther Lybeert in track 13) and Serenade Bleu (track 16). Singing is also featured in Het Bibbelebomse Eiland in track 3 (- a kind of On The Beach at Waikiki sung in Dutch by Jan de Smet), Ramona with vocal by Guido Belcanto and Dutch lyrics in track 15, and Caroline with English lyrics sung by Johnny Joris in track 8. Further there are two examples of slack key guitar playing in track 9 and 14. The arrangements of the featured music at the CD are great, all involved in the project have provided excellent performance and the CD certainly invites to repeated listening. Recommended, definitely! - The CD is available for purchase at the website of Les Guitares Magiques, more info with examples in streaming audio here,  and it is also available from Grass Skirt Records, more info here.

To end this small review, I'll insert another video of a live performance by Les Guitares Magiques, here playing Singing The Blues 


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Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Happy New Year 2018 - The Song Is Ended

I wish readers of the keep(it)swinging blog a Happy New Year 2018 and thank you for your interest and support in 2017. The blog and related blogs under the keepitswinging.domain will be discontinued in 2018 due to personal matters. However, a fixed date according this step has not yet been scheduled, I'll announce more precisely later. Till then, keep coming back to keep updated. Thank you for your understanding.

Original sheet music, 1927
Irving Berlin composed The Song Is Ended in 1927. In 1938, Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers recorded my favorite version, inserted below from YouTube to end this


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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Ferret Brothers - Guitarists In Django's Shadow (3)

Georg Lankester
Georg Lankester tells the story of the Ferret brothers – contemporary Gypsy guitarists of Django Reinhardt. The story is in three parts, below follows part three.  The first part is available herethe second part is published here

Jean “Matelo” Ferret  
Jean “Matelo” Ferret  (1918 – 1989)
After his elder brothers - in 1938 - had left home, Matelo stayed a bit upset behind, but not for long. The next year he also left his parents and went to Paris in order to play for living. His first engagement was in the little orchestra of the ‘father of the Musette’ Emile Vacher. Not long afterwards he played with accordionist Guérino (like his brothers and Django many years before). Guérino was quite succesful with his group called La  Boîte à MatelotsA year later, Matelo switched from banjo to guitar and -  as we know from many recordings – he became an exceptional guitarist in the Gypsy- and Musette style. 

In Paris he often could be seen with Django playing in various combinations and in 1935 he joined Michel Warlop, the great violinist who died  so early; Matelo also recorded with jazz accordionist Louis Richardet. Remarkable is that Matelo also acompanied Edith Piaf in her very first recordings back in 1936. So the guitarist was now a popular musician. 

But also the Jazz was gradually quite important in the Parisian entertainment scene. Thanks to the activities of the Hot Club de France leaders, great American jazz musicians were invited to France such as the saxophonists Coleman Hawkins and Benny Carter, as well as violinist Eddie South. They gave concerts and recorded also with French musicians. Matelo was often asked, just like clarinettist Hubert Rostaing and, of course, Django Reinhardt. And Matelo…he stayed in the same hotels as Django and also joined the popular gypsy orchestra Casanova.

At the beginning of the war Matelo formed part of Ekyan’s Swingtette which, in 1941, made some interesting records.Two years after that he formed his own sextet which included two guitars, clarinet, vibes, bass and drums. His music was inspired by Benny GoodmanLater, in 1944, recordings of this original line-up followed, but all the same Matelo was  more known becuase of the Swingtette and his gypsy waltzes in which he was outstanding. Again he performed - somewhat later - with Richardet, Viseur and Murena,  the best swing accordion players of those years. Moreover he played the best waltzes of Gusti Malha and Matteo Carcassi.

After the war – in 1947 – Matelo joined Django’s Hot Club Quintet as can be heard in the records R-Vingt-Six, How high the moon, Lover man, Blue Lou and  Blues. Then there is some silence, but in the Fifties he recorded a few times for the EMI label. However, by then the Jazz had changed and so had the taste of the audience.  Because Matelo preferred gypsy music and in order to higlight the early compositions of Django, he decided in 1959  to go to the studio with a trio and record the four titles Montagne-ste.Geneviève, Gagoug, Chez Jacquet and Choti, all real gems of gypsy waltzes.

The next year he joined the orchestra of Jo Privat who produced the album Manouche Partie as an homage to Django – these recordings were also filmed.
Jo Privat feat. Matelot Ferret_Manouche Partie (1960)
It is very interesting to see Matelo playing and enjoying the music. The album was later handed to Naguine (Django’s widow) and is certainly one of the favourites in my collection.

Matelo’s intrest in Jazz gradually faded and he retired a bit in favour of his two sons, Helios and Boulou (the latter considered a prodigy)..Especially Boulou played with lots of famous musicians alll over the world. The two brothers often had duet sessions, sometimes joined by their father.
Matelot Ferret (center) performing with his two sons
Matelo appeared – not long before his death – at the Django Festival of Samois. He died in Paris in 1989 as the last of the three legendary Ferret brothers. He can be considered the best interpreter of Gypsy Waltzes the world has ever known.

Fringe figures
Finally a few words on musicians around the Ferrets who also performed with them. Fist of all guitarist Challain Ferret (their cousin)  who is less known. He was present in the beginning within the Trio Ferret of 1938/39, as well as in a few recordings with Gus Viseur.

Then guitarist Jacques Montagne (member of the Malha family) should be mentioned since he sometimes played with Sarane and much later was present in the Manouche Partie sessions of Jo Privat where he accompanied Matelo.

Finally we have guitarist  Maurice Ferré from Rouen. He used to play duets with Joseph Bouville (who also was a guitarist) at the end of last century.

Hot Club Records issue of Matelo Ferret
Hot Club’ Records (of Norway) issued cd’s dedicated to “Baro” and “Matelo” in the eighties of last century. 
Fremeaux box-set feat. the Ferret Brothers
And the French company Frémeaux offers a cd-box which includes 3 cds on the Ferret brothers and an info-booklet. 

Georg Lankester

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