Nuages-ish

7 Apr

I remember the first time I heard Django Reinhardt.

It was love at first listen.

And suddenly, Willie Nelson made more sense.

It wouldn’t be until many years later that I ran into a fellow who explained the connection.

Willie had recorded one of the best versions of Reinhardt’s “Nuages” – possibly the best, outside of Django’s 14 variations.

Of course, Willie is known as a country artist.

But what makes him so virtuosic, in my view, is how he has seamlessly sewn jazz into the fabric of his American country quilt.

There’s nothing in music quite as thrilling, to me, as hearing a perfectly executed jazz run in the middle of an otherwise pure country tune.

Suddenly, you’ve gone from a provincial Southern sound to a truly global sound… something entirely new and sophisticated in its simple way.

I’ve always dreamed of being able to fuse country and jazz.

Still haven’t gotten there yet. Mainly because I know very little about jazz (or as Ron Burgundy calls it, “yazz.”)

But I’m hoping to change that.

Fate has put an amazing guy in my life all of a sudden. He’s one of the best jazz guitarists on the East Coast, if not the country.

And he’s a great guide, as well.

As Michael made coffee in his kitchen last week, I joked: “I’m hoping to learn Nuages before I leave today.”

It was my first lesson. I was joking.

“Oh yeah. That’s actually a good one to start with. We can do that.”

“I was joking,” I said.

“Oh, well, let’s sit down and take a look at it.”

Which we did… For about 15 minutes…

But it was enough to get me started. So I went home and started fiddling around with what he showed me.

I recorded one guitar track on Dad’s old Dobro, and a second one – also on the Dobro.

Then I added a very simple percussion line, and voila.

Instant Django.

Yeah. Right. Not quite.

I call this Nuage-ish, because it’s kind of like Nuages… but it’s not… well… Nuages.

But this is just the first foray. There will be more.

Till then, I hope you enjoy it.

5 Responses to “Nuages-ish”

  1. Timbro April 7, 2014 at 6:59 am #

    You alternate tuning, cramatic scale playing, son of a gun. Great stuff, I love it a lot. Keep it up. – check a Hartge design called a Quadrant- pilot house. Amazingboat. Love Tim

    • The Publisher April 7, 2014 at 11:04 pm #

      Haha! Thanks for the kindly words, Tim! Coming from you, they mean the world. Like I said, I met a really great teacher and I’m looking forward to learning more. The alt tuning on this was totally accidental. I think I downtuned the Dobro weeks ago by a half step, so this entire thing is in the key of “what the hell?” It’s sad b/c I couldn’t add any other instrumentation to it b/c of that. But anyway, having lots of fun with this. Next lesson is tomorrow. Love ya.

    • The Publisher April 7, 2014 at 11:05 pm #

      BTW – I know the Hartge family – incredibly nice people just down the Bay from us here. Hartge Yacht Yard is huge these days. But old Captain Dick was a friggin’ maestro. I would put his native talent up against Herschoff, even. Check out this Quadrant currently for sale down in Virginia. Let’s go halvsies and you can come out this summer and we can go cruising on Crab Alley Bay. http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1956/Quadrant-Sloop-2623708/Port-Townsend/WA/United-States#.U0Mt5q1dUy0

  2. Just Ang April 8, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

    My baby brother/squirrel nut zipper, you! ❤

    • The Publisher April 9, 2014 at 1:30 am #

      Oh yeah – the Zips! They were fantastic. Didn’t you see them in Santa Rosa once??

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