"Minor Swing" is a popular Gypsy jazz tune composed by Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli. It was first recorded by The Quintet of the Hot Club of France in 1937. It was recorded four other times throughout Reinhardt's career and is considered to be one of his most covered compositions, as well as a Gypsy jazz standard.
The song was released as a 78 single on the French Swing label in 1937 as SW.23A, Matrix #OLA1990-1, featuring Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli under the group name Quintette du Hot Club de France.
Gypsy Jazz (aka Gypsy Swing aka Jazz Manouche) is the jazz style made famous by Django, originating in France in the 1930s.
Most gypsy jazz bands exist only of string instruments. The drum is replaced by 2 rhythm guitars that are played using a specific technique called "la pompe". This special kind of strumming is done by playing a fast up-down strum followed by a down strum.
The lead guitar (and violin) are played in a virtuose, chromatic style with a heavy swing feel.
Most gypsy musicians couldn't read music, their musical tradition was passed down from the older generation to the younger. Beginning players were usually taught by a family member and by listening to recordings.
1934 proved to be the most important year of his life. The Quintet of the Hot Club of France was born! As the fates would have it, the Quintet was formed by a chance meeting of Django and Stйphane Grappelli. A band of fourteen musicians including Django, Stйphane, Roger Chaput, and Louis Vola were commissioned to play at the Hotel Cambridge at teatime. During intermission Django would find a corner backstage and play his guitar. One day Stйphane joined in and both were so pleased with the exchange they went on to play together more and more frequently joined by Roger Chaput (guitar), Louis Vola (bass), and eventually Django's brother Joseph (guitar). A small record company Ultraphone recorded their first sides Dinah, Tiger Rag, Oh Lady be Good, and I Saw Stars. These first records caused a sensation! The Quintet went on to record hundreds of sides and had a following on both sides of the ocean.