Django By Ferro
How This CD Came To Be By Linda Ferro Six years ago, my husband, Mike, and I read the excellent biography, Django Reinhardt, by Charles Delaunay. The book was inspirational and we discovered that the man, Django, was so much more than a musician. We decided to write lyrics to some of Django's music, some of which was co-authored by the great violinist, Stephane Grapelli. We felt that the melodies and rhythms would lend themselves beautifully to words. Mike and I didn't just want to impose our thoughts and feelings, so - in addition to the biography - we read as many books, articles, and liner notes as we could find by other admirers and critics of Django, including Ian Cruikshank's stunning and moving, Django's Gypsies. We shared the books, albums, stories, and videos with friends and all were moved by the spirit of Django. Django's life was as spellbinding as any novel. He was a man who conquered devastating social and physical handicaps, overcame poverty and illiteracy, survived war. He was a musician, a painter, a fisherman, a gambler, and a world-class billiard player. He loved music, his friends, his mother, his wife, his son. He died tragically young, and yet left an immortal influence. We approached the music with the utmost respect. The lyrics reflect the song titles, as well as the life and times of Django: "At Django's" sings of the club Django always wanted to own; "Django's Island" could be the place of "Porto Cabello"; "Gypsy Blues" could have been Ike's lament; "If You're In The Mood" is a cabaret fantasy; "Midnight Ride" refers to the flower in "Fleur d'Ennui" and the lonely after-hours life of a musician; "My Love For You" sings about the East as does "Oriental Shuffle". And so on. This was a labor of love. I hope that this work brings Django to life for those who would have found him unreachable before. I hope that others discover Django's genius, the brilliance of his compositions, the haunting beauty and romance of his music. He was a handicapped illiterate gypsy who became the greatest jazz guitarist who ever lived. I hope his genius lives on and inspires others the way it did us, and I hope that Django Reinhardt be remembered and revered, not only as a great musician, but as a great man. "Django By Ferro" Romantic, sensual, adventurous. Those are some of the first things that come to mind when you hear this CD. It is an album that can be appreciated on a number of different levels. Maybe the first time through, you can just relax in it's smooth blanket of sound. Listen to Ferro's rich voice caress the music, all of which is by the legendary Belgian gypsy guitarist, Django Reinhardt. Django injured his hand in a fire, and guitarists ever since are trying to figure out how he played his instrument so fabulously. (Woody Allen's movie, "Sweet and Lowdown" dealt with this same question.) Composers are still trying to figure out how he wrote such exceptional songs, too. This is music that can be enjoyed at many different times of day, while alone or with someone. But it is also really good music for lovers. The second time through, listen carefully to Mike and Linda Ferro's lush and poetic lyrics. Hear how their words cling to the songs, how they bring out their special magic. Then read the original song titles by Django, such as "Maison de Mes Reves," (or "Django's Castle") and then the song titles in Ferro's version, such as "Dreams Go Astray." You'll begin to get more of a sense of the insinuating ways the words enhance the songs. Sometimes they are gently kidding, such as in "Oh, Miss Daphne" when Ferro sings "When you're not here - cold soup, hot beer." More often they are gently elegant, such as in "Midnight Ride," when Ferro croons "You've been visiting my fantasies - stay awhile." But always the words and the singing reveal an aptness, and a cleverness, that is enjoyable in itself. Ferro himself is something of a legend among Chicago musicians, and what an awesome group of them are assembled here! The stunning arrangements are by Larry Gray, the Chicago bassist and multi-instrumentalist who has starred with many of the greatest names in jazz and played with the world-famous Chicago Symphony Orchestra. What pleasure there is in the violin of Johnny Frigo, the saxophones of Eric Schneider and Eddie Johnson, the harmonica of Howard Levy, the tasteful drums of Phil Gratteau: indeed, any fair commentary on this musical ship would have to single out each and every one of the 19 musicians aboard. Overall, Ferro and his crew transform the music of Django. And when we really listen, they transform us. Joe Cunniff Writer and critic DownBeat, Hyde Park Herald, Northwest Leader "Django by Ferro" "Mike Ferro has been hit by the Django bug...and it's contagious. The result... is the swinging, strikingly original "Django By Ferro", a 13-track collection of interpretations of Reinhardt songs sung by Ferro to lyrics written by him and his wife, Linda." DownBeatJazz.com "Got it! Listened to it! Loved it! Congratulations on doing something very creative with this wonderful music. Super job!" Mike Peters Jazz historian, researcher, musician, and Author of "The Django Reinhardt Anthology" "Remembering Django...his brilliance and spirit...Ferro's original lyrics and vocal style...magical, musical journey...presented with love and respect. Beautiful!" Diane Loren "Jazz With Diane Loren" WYMS 88.3 FM/Milwaukee, Wisconsin "An outstanding CD, and I am pleased to have it in my carefully nurtured collection. I highly recommend this album for all vocal jazz lovers." John Burnett "Morning Jazz Host" WDCB 90.9 FM/Glen Ellyn, Illinois "This album was a complete surprise and an absolute gem." Marshall Vente Musician, critic Jazz Institute of Chicago "The Ferros have taken the gypsy out of Samois and graciously placed him in their own musical backyard. It is a fine musical tribute to Django...and is recommended for all." Dr. Frank Forte Just Jazz Guitar Magazine "A fresh and daring approach to Django's music from a seasoned song stylist...an exciting yet historical approach to jazz vocals." Peter Fallico "Doodlin'" KUSP 88.9 FM/Santa Cruz, California "This is a refreshing album...respectful of Django's music but with a fresh twist of new lyrics, expertly sung and played. Wonderful!" Jim Wilke "Jazz After Hours" "Public Radio International" "I sorry to answer after such a delay but I was out for business and it was difficult for me to connect to Internet. I have received your beautiful CD "Django By Ferro" and I was delighted when hearing it. I specially enjoyed the arrangements by Larry Gray, especially on the slow numbers such as "When I think about you" or the extraordinary "Django's island". Bit I enjoyed also the boppin' "At Django's" and "Sleepness" arranged in Monk's way. Ferro is a great singer, he has a beautiful strange voice full of culture especially when he mirrors other singers for a few seconds. I do not speak English well enough however to understand everything immediately but I have enjoyed the poetry of his words. Many thanks for your gift that goes directly to my heart and congratulations for this great idea you have had! I think it is the first time America really welcomes the genious of Django Reinhardt. Thank you for this too! Many thanks again Denny, "in bocca al lupo!" and keep swinging! Amities Marc Masselin 09032 ASSEMINI (CA) ITALY Mike Ferro Django by Ferro Revoici Django Reinhardt salue cette fois par un crooner remarquable, Mike Ferro, et un orchestre de jazz. La demarche est interessante a plus d'un titre, car elle temoigne d'un grand amour pour cette musique et d'un grand respect pour son auteur. Linda Ferro (et Mike, parfois) ont compose les paroles en anglais des different themes, excepte pour 'Nuage' (It's the Bluest Kind of Blues My Baby Sings) qui avait deja ete realisees par Spencer Willians et Joe Turner. Des paroles qui se referent a la vie de Django, reelle ou imaginaire. Ainsi 'At Django's' (Djangology) parle de la boite de jazz qu'il revait d'acquerir, mais qu'il n'eut jaimais et 'Porto Cabello' devient 'Django's Island', l'ile qu'a plus forte raison, jamais il n'acheta. Toute ces paroles, suscitees par la lecture du livre de Charles Delaunay, 'Django Reinhardt' auraient pu etre ecrites plus tot, mais, c'est ainsi, Django est encore ignore de nombre de jazzmen anglophones. Il va sans dire que le traitement des musiques est tout a fait autre que l'esprit dans lequel elles ont ete composees. Elles sont jouess ici a l'americaine et meme la guitare d'Henry Johnson sonne davantage Joe Pass que manouche. L'amateur de Django retrouvera derriere ces nouveaux titre, outre les susnommes, 'Sweet Chorus', 'Cavalerie', 'Manoir de mes reves', 'Django's Castle', 'Blues for Ike'. 'Fleur d'ennui', 'Daphne', 'Are You in the Mood', 'Oriental Shuffle', 'Diminushing', 'Melodie au Crepuscule' et se renforcera dans son opinion que, decidement, c'etait un sacre musicien. Michel Bedin Jazz Hot.