Django Fest FW Review

edited January 2007 in North America Posts: 597
I went to the Fest Friday and Saturday night, but was unable to attend Sunday night.

On Friday, a video on Grapelli was presented, "Stephane Grappelli: A Life in the Jazz Century." And then a quartet played played afterwards: Mark Menikos/violin, Tom Reynolds/guitar, Paul Unger/bass, Andy Crisanti/clarinet. A fine group, they performed many GJ standards.

It was a true joy to hear Andy Crisanti on clarinet. Recently retired after 30 years with the Fort Worth Symphony, Crisanti swung hard and dipped deep into his fertile improvisational imagination. I hope his retirement is only from the symphony, not from jazz and live performance. Amazing player. Crisanti was the highlight of the evening and of the festival.

On Saturday, "Swing Guitar: The Genius of Django Reinhardt" was shown. Two acts followed, a duo and a quartet.

The duo, GYPSY MOON with Ray & Linda Sriro on guitars, specialized in waltzes. They sounded great and had an endearing stage presence. I was initially worried that a set of waltzes might be a bit much, but they did them so well that those worries vanished.

The quartet was next: YO! GADJO, Slim Richey/guitar, MeauxJeaux/bass, Ross Holmes/violin & Django Porter/guitar. Wow. This group really killed. Playing to a room that was just filled to capacity, they really had the GJ vibe in full effect. Django Porter was exceptional. A player with a natural feel for the music, he combined flashy technique with superior taste. I've heard Porter is active in the Austin scene, which gives me an excuse to make the drive down south.

I missed Sunday night, which had Kim Platko on solo guitar and the Texas Gypsies on the bill. Was anyone there?

This was a great festival put on by the folks at Arts Fifth Avenue. Excellent acoustics and warm hospitality were the key ingredients. It's wonderful to have a local arts group present gypsy jazz in North Central Texas.
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