There’s a good reason why the fantastic guitar music that Django Reinhardt made back in postwar Europe back in the ‘40s and ‘50s lives on today. It’s the same reason is why modern rock guitarists like Shadows great Hank Marvin and top electric players like John Jorgenson have, in recent years, turned to Django’s Gypsy Jazz style of acoustic guitar playing. The reason is that Django’s lightening quick style approach to acoustic finger style guitar makes people feel good. Canadian guitarist Duane Andrews spent time in France and upon his return he took up the Gypsy Jazz torch and the results sound great on his 2008 CD, Raindrops. A popular guitarist up in his native Canada, Andrews digs deep and delivers the goods with Raindrops. A stellar mix of Andrews originals, traditional arrangements and a Django cover fill up the sound stage on Raindrops. Backed up several key players, including rhythm guitarist Steve Hussey, and accompanied by The Atlantic String Quartet, Andrews displays a wide range of chops and impeccable taste on an all instrumental CD that not only sounds good but feels good as well. Track by track notes by Andrews within the well packaged digi-pak CD design fills in the missing pieces behind Andrews’ musette of choice. www.DuaneAndrews.ca

MUSIC WEB EXPRESS 3000 presents
DUANE ANDREWS - Guitars Center Stage
Guitarists making waves in the music world, their new recordings and gear!

Musical Background

I started playing on my mother’s guitar when I was around 10 years old and pretty much kept going ever since. I really started getting into jazz when I was around 16 and after high school decided to pursue music more intensely and enrolled in the Jazz Studies program at ST. FX University. After finishing that I became profoundly interested in classical music specifically contemporary classical composition and that led to several years studying in France first at the Conservatoire International de Paris and later at the CNR in Marseilles where I had the wonderful fortune of being able to study in the composition classes of Georges Boeuf and Regis Campo. It was during my last trip to France back in 2001 that I heard a modern Manouche guitarist named Moreno which sparked my love for the Gypsy Jazz of the legendary Django Reinhardt.

New CD

I have three distinct influences on my sound, Django’s Gypsy Jazz, contemporary classical music and traditional music from my home in Newfoundland which has a lot of Celtic flavour. On my first two albums, Duane Andrews (2004) and Crocus (2006), I was developing a sound that brought together Django’s music and the traditional music from Newfoundland but on the latest album Raindrops (2008) I wanted to bring in some of the contemporary classical sounds to the mix. I also wanted to develop a more elaborate arranging style as the first couple of albums were more bare boned in terms of arrangement so I decided to augment the core of my ensemble which consisted of two guitars, acoustic bass and trumpet and brought in vibraphone and string quartet to enrich the textural palette. We recorded the album over a couple of days in a lovely little studio in a small town out on the coast of Newfoundland overlooking the water. I like an off the floor approach to recording and we tracked the album together with everything close mic-ed though we managed to get setup so we didn’t need to use headphones. I really am thrilled with how the album came together and feel it perfectly expresses what I’ve been trying to do over the last few of years. “Blue Drag” which was one of the gems from Django’s repertoire took on a new dimension by adding the strings while a track like “Bees And Flower”’ brings out an interpretation of a set of traditional Newfoundland reels in more of a flat picking kind of style but with a gypsy jazz kind of groove. Though the sources of the music are pretty diverse I think there’s still a cool coherence throughout the album.

Favorite Guitars

I’ve been playing a 1980’s model Dell Arte grande bouche Selmer style acoustic guitar for the last 4 or 5 years. It’s been around the world with me and has been ‘modified’ by a few of the airlines but it’s still holding together. I just love the feel and sound of it and those Selmer style guitars have such a unique sound that’s kind of a cross between a standard steel string and nylon string guitar. After years of searching I’ve settled on a couple of D-TAR boxes and a mic/pickup combination for amplification. I have an under the saddle pickup which I blend with an AKG atm-30 mic that clips onto the sound hole and extends with a goose neck to get inside the sound hole. I place it on the bass side of the sound hole but still use the mic mainly for the high end and the pickup for the low. I blend the both of them through the D-TAR Solstice and also insert the D-Tar Equinox into the line for extra eq options then send it all to the front house as a blended signal through one xlr out. The Solstice is nice too as it has a separate out for monitors but I usually can get away with not having to use monitors live.

Musical Influences

By far my favorite guitarist is Django and really everything he has recorded is brilliant guitar work. But there are a few tracks that stand out like the original version of “Tiger Rag,” “Limehouse Blues” (the uptempo version with the Hot Club of France from the 1930’s), “I’ll See You In My Dreams”. One track that really stands out to me is “Rhythm Futur” which is a compositional masterpiece as well as an exceptional guitar recording. There is also an amazing video clip which you should be able to find if you google “J’Attendrai”. It’s a promo video that was shot for a tour that the Hot Club were doing in England and I think it’s the only existing footage where you can see and hear Django performing. He does this one massive chromatic run spanning like 3 octaves which always blows my mind. Another album I listen to a lot is Andy Irvine and Paul Brady by Andy Irvine and Paul Brady. It’s one of the peaks of the traditional music revival that was happening in Ireland during the 1970’s and has an amazing array of stringed instruments arranged with an intricacy but also a simplicity. Paul Brady is the guitarist on that album and I’m thinking he probably keeps to the DADGAD tuning.

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