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Duets for Django CD

Paul Vernon Chester

Your site is refreshingly vibrant. The Gypsy Jazz area is developing  strongly and I will post you articles when completed to add. I can see this site being an impressively strong alternative to existing ones, particularly with material on guitars, playing etc, if that's the way you envisage it developing. You have my support!  All the best Eddie,  - Paul.Vernon Chester

Paul Vernon Chester
One of the UK’s and the world’s finest Gypsy Jazz guitarists, Paul’s playing and compositions are rapidly bringing him to the forefront of the jazz guitar scene. His playing , in the Django tradition, is warm open hearted and high octane!  Regularly appearing on the same stage as many of big names of the genre, Paul’s work has been broadcast both in the UK and abroad.  His compositions once heard are rarely forgotten.  ‘Hauntingly beautiful’ and ‘infectious’ are both accurate descriptions that have been applied to Paul’s music, as proven in many performances that have earned him huge respect from audiences and artists alike. He is internationally respected and has shared stages with some of the world's finest Gypsy Jazz musicians. Described by one hardened Gypsy Jazz fan as "scarily good" he not only plays with great technical finesse but, most importantly, with enormous charm and soul. He is supported by his cousin and long time accompanist, the superb rhythm guitarist, Nick Mellor.  Paul endorses Manouche Guitars
Paul Vernon Chester Video

Paul Vernon Chester Video - 2 (Autumn leaves)

Paul and his cousin, rhythm guitarist NICK MELLOR have been playing together since they were kids-and their rapport is clearly apparent in their performances.

Paul in Action @ Concert Jazz Thame - 14/03/07
Nick in Action @ Concert jazz Thame - 14/03/07

Manouche Guitars / Vintage Strings,
 88 London Road,
GL52 6EH. Tel: +44(0)1242 515949 Fax: +44(0) 01242 515949
Map: Click here

Email: Sales, Tony Walker, John Vickers

    -  Manouche guitars have really impressed me, as has the expertise of John and Tony who really know there stuff down there in Cheltenham. These guitars are really taking off and sound lovely. - Paul Vernon Chester
    Manouche Guitar Story
    Documentary about the origins of the Manouche Modele Jazz

'Paul Vernon Chester - Suite Django -
Musical Impressions of events in the life of  Django Reinhardt
All original tracks written and performed by Paul Vernon Chester, accompanied by Ian Cruickshank on rhythm and Andy Crowdy on bass and percussion.
Track Listing:
Valse des Enfants
Flame of Destiny
Nin Nin
Broad Brimmed Hat
Baro and Matelo
Hotel Claridge
Selmer Swing
American Dream
Naguine's Tears

if you wish to order copies of any of thise CDs Click Here

Duets for Django Live @ Concert Jazz CD Release

The Live Album Released 6th June 07 - CD Day
'Duets for Django'
recorded at Live @ Concert Jazz Thame on 14/03/07 (Paul's Birthday)

This celebration may account for the Manouche Magic captured by Jake Kirkpatrick
Just to let you know how delighted we are with the final product. As anticipated the recording quality is top notch and the packaging looks great.  Love the colour scheme. Nick's guitar works well for the tweaked volume. Notwithstanding the CD works really well. Many thanks for your hard work Jake and I feel we have a recording that truly reflects our performance ideals. It's only when you hear the audience at the end of each track you realise this is a live recording! I feel the same tension that I felt at the gig!
Very well done mate, you know your stuff. - Paul Vernon Chester.

This gives a great insight to Paul's compositions, faultless technique and ability to improvise inventively on a chord structure.
The listening audience were so enraptured that their presence is only apparent in the enthusiastic applause at the end of each number.

Track Listings are
Douce Ambience
Chez Jacquet
Autumn Leaves
Lady Be Good
St Louis Blues
Mona Lisa
Blues en Mineur
Django's Waltz
September Song
Minor Swing


If you wish to obtain a Copy of Duets for Django by Cheque Payment
- click here  CD Purchase Enquiry

Many thanks for the CD, I am very impressed and is a great reminder of a great concert.- Martin

CD received. - I had expected it to be good, but I wasn't prepared for it to be quite so delightful as it is. Paul Vernon Chester is probably fed up with people paying extravagant compliments on his playing, I would be obliged if you would pass on my congratulations on a truly masterful example of the Manouche guitar style - John McCarte

Yes, Paul is a brilliant player, recall his great show at L'espirit Manouche 2003!...Cheers, Phil

Exclusive - Here are some tempting morsels of the unmixed live performance @ Concert Jazz in Thame for your delectation.

Anouman - composed by Django - a reflective and beautiful slow tempo number.

After Your Gone complete with mid flight apology for a chance string break as a result of Paul's relentless attack on his guitar

Paul is also currently hard at work composing for an imminent studio recording and hopes to expand the duo to a Quartet with the addition of his favourite bassist Andy Crowdy and a Violinist yet to be announced. 

Paul also appears on a number of Gypsy Jazz compilation albums alongside his fellow Luminaries of the Magical Manouche Hierarchy

Paul Vernon Chester - Masterclass - Gypsy Jazz Guitar Workshop

Paul holds regular Tuition schools in Walsall in the West Midlands and it is a great opportunity to receive first class instruction from this world respected guitarist and and opportunity download from him a deal of his personal recollections and anecdotes regarding the music he loves and promotes.  His dexterity, musicianship, intricate skills, historical interest and enthusiasm are a joy to absorb.  If you are a serious student you could have no finer teacher than Maestro Paul Vernon Chester in the demanding and delicate delights of Manouche Swing Jazz.

Next Scheduled Paul Vernon Chester Manouche Workshop
Saturday 25th April 09 - Times - 10.30am till 4.30pm

Contact 01844 353117 or Paul Vernon Chester by email.

Gypsy Jazz  - Article Contributed by Paul Vernon Chester

There has never been a better time for anyone wishing to play in the tradition of the great gypsy, Django Reinhardt. I say this from the standpoint of over four decades playing this wonderful music. In conversation with my cousin and rhythm guitarist, Nick Mellor, we often reflect on the wealth of material and opportunities available today for the gypsy jazz student in terms of recordings, gigs and festivals, guitars, workshops and tutors etc, devoted to our hero. This is in stark contrast to the sparse resources at our disposal, other than Django’s recordings, when we began our journey as enthusiastic kids years ago. In this respect it is worth reminding ourselves in the gypsy jazz community of the early ‘promotional pioneers’ of the genre, but more on that later.
As is the case with many of my contemporaries, my first acquaintance with Django’s playing was against the backdrop of the 1960s where guitar generally was the instrument of choice for bands of the time. Most popular music releases contained the obligatory guitar solo and the period was bound to raise the profile of exceptional instrumentalists, with such a sharpening global focus. This was a period where guitarist as diverse as Chet Atkins and Segovia enjoyed increasing adulation. The concept of virtuosity was given greater prominence. Guitar heroes like Hendrix and Clapton led the pack and were pushing the boundaries with challenging sounds and techniques. Many Pop guitarists looked to more accomplished musicians for inspiration and the technical and dynamic range of the instrument was expanded as never before. Guitars sold in massive numbers.
Like thousands of other kids I was caught up in the energy of the times and became inseparable from my guitar. I listened to and tried to assimilate the solos of my guitar heroes moving from one to the next, always looking for increasing levels of complexity and difficulty. It was bound to happen! I remember a guitarist friend of my brother, always aware of my insatiable desire for improvement, recommending I listen to a gypsy guitarist who was better than all others and to top it all, played mainly with only two fingers! His name was Django Reinhardt. Where do I listen to this guitarist? Is he alive? What does he play like? What happened to his hand?
I saved several week’s  pocket money to buy my first Django album, a ‘Music for Pleasure’ LP. I could not wait to get it home. I remember listening to ‘Sweet Sue’ and being totally shocked and utterly surprised at the extremely poor recording quality of the clarinet intro but regardless, nothing could prepare me for the earth shattering solo from this Django guy! I could no longer hear recording imperfections but could only marvel at the energy and boundless inventiveness of this singularly astounding musician. Two fingers!! I have been smitten ever since. That energy still remains, that spontaneity continues. The breathtaking skill and creativity survive unabated. Django is timeless. Django lives!
I began my studies immediately. I learned Nuages first, playing along with the record over and over until I thought it sounded right. Nick and I sat for hours playing through our slowly but steadily increasing Django repertoire. We sought out information about the man, about these weird guitars with sound chambers. Some people called them Selmer's and others, Maccaferris. Some had D shaped holes and some oval. You could not buy them as they were very rare! Our investigations only ever got so far and our knowledge of Django gleaned almost exclusively from record sleeve notes, read over and over. Some years later Charles Delaunay's biography became available at the public library. Needless to say, it was read from cover to cover several times over.
Playing Django at this time was to some extent un-cool and to most audiences unfamiliar. It was not Pop music! Nick and I did gigs where we initially played heavily Chet Atkins-influenced sets but now interspersed with Django numbers. It was at this time that we were introduced to a local musician and Django exponent, Fred Degville who played advanced ‘Hot Club’ with his son Paul, a few years our senior. Paul still plays and is an amazing guitarist. Check him out.
Fred was a mentor and generous spirit who really encouraged our devotion to Django, allowing us to nervously sit in for a few numbers. Occasionally, Diz Disley would be in the area and would sit in with Fred. The first time I heard Diz he was amazing. He played wonderfully imaginative solos and on a ‘real’ Maccaferri! I remember learning the solo to ‘I’ll see you in my dreams’ and playing it on Diz’s  Maccaferri. Fred’s band would always comprise double bass, rhythm guitar, clarinet or violin and the quality of musicianship was always superb. Fred was a real pioneer in the UK.
I think it must be said that Diz did so much for the introduction and development of gypsy jazz, not just in the UK but internationally. Indeed, the regeneration of Stephane Grapelli’s career as many will know, was down to Diz Disley. He had also worked with Joseph Reinhardt. I feel that it is so important to remember this chapter in the Django Legacy. Similarly, in more recent times Ian Cruickshank became the leading light in terms of introducing us to the new generation of gypsy guitarists through his links with world class exponents and promotional work and we owe him a great debt of gratitude through his knowledge and empathy for shaping much of the gypsy jazz landscape as we now perceive it. ‘Django Legacy’ must form a part of every devotees collection of resources. A big thank you to both Diz and Ian! Similarly in France we must respect the authority of Alain Antonietto and in more recent times, Michael Dregni for their inspirational work.

The music has never been in better shape with so many wonderful guitarists offering their own take on this music. The quality of musicianship develops at an astonishing level. Accessibility has never been stronger with Festivals throughout the world. Affordable instruments are available in profusion for the aspiring gypsy guitarist, DVDs, CDs, the internet.  Django would be amazed! - Paul Vernon Chester©

Michael Dregni is the author of the New York Times bestseller Django: The Life and Music of a Gypsy Legend. He’s also a guitarist struggling to play Django’s music. A regular contributor to Vintage Guitar magazine, Dregni’s writing has also appeared in Guitar Player and Acoustic Guitar magazines, as well as The Utne Reader and others. He’s the author of more than a dozen obscure books on a variety of eccentric topics. Michael Dregni lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his one wife, two sons, and too many guitars.

Dregni Broadcast Link

Dregni Broadcast 2

Alain Antonietto is the world’s pioneering historian of Jazz Tsigane. He is the author of numerous articles on Romany music, a long-time contributor to La Revue Etudes Tsiganes, and producer of albums collecting rare Gypsy music. He is also the co-author of Django Reinhardt: Un géant sur son nuage and Django Reinhardt: Rythmes futurs. He lives in Belleville, a Paris quarter made famous by Django’s jazz melody of the same name.

Paul Degville, guitar, b. Walsall (West Midlands), England, UK. Paul started his career at the age of 11 playing rhythm guitar. From age 12 to 17, he played guitar in his father's trio at the Wheatsheaf pub in Walsall. His father, (Fred Degville) then took over the 'Crown Inn' Brownhills which became a famous jazz haunt. He also taught Noddy Holder the guitar when Noddy was 15. Through the years, Paul has played alongside Bud Freeman, Ruby Braff, and the venerable Stephane Grappelli. In 1980, 'The Paul Degville Trio' (Degville (gtr), Roscoe Birchmore (bs) Nick Ward (dm)) was formed, and has since been featured on BBC Radio 2, and played all over the world, playing a varied repertoire of 1930's and '40's standards.
His father FRED DEGVILLE was probably the first jazz guitarist living and performing in Walsall. .. My father was much loved and respected and should be up there with the rest of the Walsall contingent. - Paul
<Paul Degville Trio^

In his early 20's Paul performed with such illustrious names as Stephane Grappelli, Bud Freeman, Ruby Braff as well as countless traditional and mainstream bands. He has been a member of the Pete Allen Jazz Band as well as performing with the late Duncan Swift. In recent years Pauls 'Django-esque' trio has been featured on BBC Radio 2. A virtuoso on his instrument.

Noddy Holder of Rock Group - Slade named his son Django

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Last modified: 18/02/2012