When Bill Barnes told me he was running off to Gypsy jazz camp, I had visions of rugged but glamorous days spent in caravans and romantic evenings by the campfire listening to inspired string music. The camera pans back to show bow-top trailers and a dark woods in the background.

Okay, I admit it. I grew up near Hollywood, and it probably shaped my impressions of the life of the Romani people. As I later learned, Bill's Gypsy jazz gathering took place at Smith College, and there wasn't a single bow-top trailer anywhere in sight. But if it didn't look like a scene from a movie, the music lived up to the highest expectations.

More interesting, this event is another sign of the remarkable resurgence of interest in the music of Django Reinhardt and his modern-day heirs. Make no mistake about it, Django is hot right now, and seems to be getting hotter all the time. Barnes tells us more about this fascinating subject below, and fills us in on the real happenings at a modern Gypsy jazz camp, in the first installment of his article below....