In recent decades, the idea of fusing or mixing music from different origins with some of the branches of jazz has been put into practice with increasing frequency and, usually, with results more often than not disappointing for jazz fans. At least, fans who understand and enjoy this genre in its original concept, in other words, as the popular and traditional music created by the Afro-American community.

Interesting proposals from certain points of view have been presented under the name of third stream (a mix of jazz with European music), names bringing jazz closer to modern consumer music (such as jazz rock, jazz pop, and acid jazz), and others mixing ethnic music (such as Latin jazz and flamenco jazz), but they lack stimulation for classic jazz fans.

Long before, however, there had already been a fusion phenomenon in the thirties specifically. Its creators were certain gypsy musicians living in France who fell in love with the jazz coming from America through records and the first great Afro-American soloists who landed in the Old Continent. It was these manouche musicians who adapted a genre that was foreign to them to their own forms of expression, to their melodic twists and to the flavor of their music. The results were splendid, thanks mainly to the genius of the exceptional guitarist Django Reinhardt. I say that the results were fully satisfactory because they did not lose any of the essential elements of jazz in this fusion along the way, in other words, its characteristic rhythm, its swing, and its way of working the sound to make it as expressive as possible. Put purely and simply, a new color came and enriched the most genuine jazz. Over time, it has become clear that gypsy swing and manouche jazz are not a sterile hybrid, but a fertile path that still has magnificent performers and followers all over the world.


Ricard Gili, Fundació Catalana de Jazz Clàssic