Guitarist Arranges Steve Vai’s “For the Love of God” for Gypsy Jazz Guitar

April 6th, 2016

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By Damian Fanelli

Guitarist Roberto Massa decided to put a Gypsy jazz spin on “For the Love of God,” one of Steve Vai’s most popular—and remarkable—songs.

Lucky for you, you can hear—and see—the results below.

On the recording (and in the video), Massa plays bass and all the guitar parts; he’s joined by Riccardo Pittau on cornet.

Gypsy jazz (also known as gypsy swing or hot-club jazz) is often said to have been started by the late, great Django Reinhardt in the 1930s. Reinhardt was among a group of Romani guitarists working in and around Paris in the Thirties through the Fifties, a group that also included the brothers Baro, Sarane and Matelo Ferret, plus Reinhardt’s brother Joseph “Nin-Nin” Reinhardt.

Obviously, if you’d like to check out some true Gypsy jazz, be sure to check out Reinhardt’s catalog. In terms of young players keeping Gypsy jazz alive in the 21st century, sample the work of guitarist Stephane Wrembel, whose most famous song, “Bistro Fada,” can be heard in Woody Allen’s 2011 comedy Midnight in Paris.

“['For the Love of God'] is about how far people will go for the love of their god,” Vai told Guitar World several years ago.

“When you discipline yourself to quit smoking, to run faster or to play better, you have to reach deep down into a part of you. That is a profoundly spiritual event. That’s when you come into contact with that little piece of God within you. That’s what I was trying to achieve with ‘For the Love of God’—I was trying to find that spot.”

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