MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
edited November 2005 in North America Posts: 6,155
Gypsy Jazz is Hotter than ever !
European Legends join American Greats
At Birdland – Nov. 8 – 13

Birdland has been the official home of The Django Reinhardt Festival since its inception in 2000. People come from all to hear this form of great hot jazz as performed by legendary gypsy jazz players from Europe many who have grown up on this music and ‘lived the life’. They show their enormous virtuosity, flash, and dash, on the stage of this legendary club joined each night by a top American jazz player which creates spontaneity, surprises, and new musical friendships. The Festival is produced by Pat Philips and Ettore Stratta.

After suffering a broken arm causing him to cancel his appearance at “The Spirit of Django” concert this July at Lincoln Center (which grew out of this Festival), DORADO SCHMITT, from the Lorraine region of France, returns to popular demand. The requests for him pour in all year long, a true Django disciple ! His talent, unique personality, and ‘smiles’ charm the audience from the minute he steps on the stage. Dorado is a born leader which is what he will do at Birdland.

ANGELO DEBARRE, legend, hard-driving Manouche gypsy who just appeared at The Spirit of Django concert, will be a Special Guest with Dorado and ‘gang’. Angelo is one of the truest and most exciting players of Django’s music on the scene today, and international star performing in Festivals and clubs around the world.

They are joined by LUDOVIC BEIER, young Accordionist from Paris, who also is back through audience demand. His experiences in the US have made this remarkable artist grow in virtuosity, charisma, and as a composer and producer. Having hit CD’s in France, he now finds himself on the cover of music magazines with stories and photos with our Paquito D’Rivera, James Carter, and other top jazz stars he has met at Birdland.

SAMSON SCHMITT also returns. When he first appeared here, it was as a
rhythm guitarist accompanying his dad, Dorado Schmitt. Now a star in his own right with his Trio in Europe, he will play lead as well as rhythm. He definitely has inherited his father’s talent and charm.

New this year will be PIERRE BLANCHARD, a virtuoso jazz violinist, also from France who swings like mad and has a beautiful sound. Pierre has a unique musical relationship with Dorado Schmitt.

BRIAN TORFF on Bass is our Musical Director and can swing with the best of them, experienced as he is having toured with Stephane Grappelli for years as well as George Shearing, amonst many other top name artists.
Watch out for his mean solos !

The ‘Americans” will include KEN PEPLOWSKI, one of the best jazz clarinetists in the world. HARRY ALLEN will be there with his beautiful, rich, sax sound as well as LEW TABACKIN who swings like mad. ROGER KELLAWAY - jazz master of the keyboard who will join and meet‘this music’ for the first time. JOEL FRAHM on sax is back as he was a sensation last year. And newcomer to the jazz scene, young-talented DOMINICK FARINACCI on trumpet will add more spice to the mix.

All will be joined by GORDON LANE on brushes on many evenings as well as DAVID LANGLOIS on ‘washboard’ who will slip in on several nights, something you’ve got to see!

It’s a week of a ‘hot jazz party’, The DJANGO REINHARDT NY FESTIVAL celebrating the talent and legacy of the great jazz Guitarist DJANGO and his unique style that has been around for almost 75 years, ‘keeps on swinging’ and delighting audiences !

BIRDLAND – Nov. 8 – 13, 315 West 44th Street, in NYC
Reservations: 212 581-3080, Parking Nearby, & the Food is Great!
Shows 8:00 &11:00 pm – Cover: $30 Tues, Wed., Thurs. and Sun.
$35 Fri. and Sat.

The brand new DVD of The DJANGO REINHARDT NY FESTIVAL – 2004 featuring DORADO SCHMITT will be on sale at the Festival and you can contact producers at: <!-- e --><a href="mailto:[email protected]">[email protected]</a><!-- e -->.

Special Thanks to our Presenter: WILD TURKEY BOURBON

And our contributing Sponsors
Media Sponsor: VILLAGE VOICE

The Django Reinhardt Festival Group goes on tour: Oct. 27, 28 & 29 to The Kennedy Center, Oct. 31 & Nov.1 to The Dakota in Minn., Nov.. 3 The Napa Opera House, Nov.4 &5 Jazz Alley in Seattle, Nov. 8 – 13 Birdland in NY, and Nov. 16 at The Disney Concert Hall in LA.


  • Elva LedesmaElva Ledesma Seattle, WANew
    Posts: 32
    Thanks for posting news of the Django Reinhardt Festival Group tour that will be in Napa, California next week. I look forward to hearing these great musicians!
  • plankityplankity CTNew
    Posts: 108
    Don't forget to check out Pat Phillip's site and see the fantastic video of Dorado playing Sweet Georgia Brown with Daniel Langois on percussion.

    This week will be great -- workshops in Sunday 11/13

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,155
    I just saw this show last night....WOW! I knew it would be good of course....but I think I was expecting a run of the mill Alsatian Gypsy shred fest. It was anything but that...a very well put together show with a varied repertoire, good arrangements, and great interplay between the musicians. I've seen more Gypsy jazz concerts then I can count, and they tend to be more of a jam session on stage. Which is cool too....but it was nice to see something so thought out. And this band is the equivalent of a Gypsy big band...two guitars, violin, bass and accordion. Most Gypsy shows you're lucky if they even have a violin.

    And Ludovic Beier was jaw dropping on the accordion! Maybe I'll go again tonight....anyone free to baby sit?

  • plankityplankity CTNew
    Posts: 108
    I just saw this show last night....WOW! I knew it would be good of course....but I think I was expecting a run of the mill Alsatian Gypsy shred fest. It was anything but that...a very well put together show with a varied repertoire, good arrangements, and great interplay between the musicians...

    Not volunteering to babysit but I have question: did Angelo play 'Fantasie'? At the Lincoln Center show, Joscho played first and he really tore the place apart! Then Angelo, Samson, Ludovic and Florin came out -- the anticipation was palpable (as in, how does one follow what just happened?). And he played this unbelievably moving ballad that was intensely sweet and lyrical - "a delicate lacework of notes" is what the NY Times called it. It sounded more like Bill Evans than Django Reinhardt - and what a perfect way to bridge the audience over to the new crew!

    I will be requesting that one at Birdland!

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,155
    Angelo isn't on tour with this group.....

    In Seattle it was just Dorado, Samson, Ludovic, Pierre B., and a bass player.

  • B25GibB25Gib Bremerton WA✭✭✭✭ Holo Busato, Dell'Arte Hommage, Gitane D-500, Eastman AR805
    Posts: 184
    .....The announcer for the Saturday 7:30 pm show reported that Dorado and Samson had learned of the passing Friday of Dorado's mother (Samson's grandmother) which set a quiet mood to begin. The first song was a dual violin Intro and produced a beautiful song tribute.
    It was a great show and I appreciated the arrangements and interplay among the musicians. Samson played mostly rhythm and deferred to Dorado on leads which was a joy to hear. Ludovic is awesome on button accordian!
    Very memorable.
  • plankityplankity CTNew
    Posts: 108
    *** this is a re-hash of what I posted over at the Yahoo GJG forum ***

    I attended the last four nights of Pat Phillips' Django at Birdland and thought I'd pass along this review...

    The show was full of talent and surprises: as already stated here Lew Tabakin and Roger Kellaway were not the best of the Americans who took to the stage (though they had their moments). Joel Frahm (Saturday night) was a much better fit: totally hip and swingin like nobody's business, this younger tenor sax player seemed to be soaking it all in. He did his homework and played in the pocket: shades of Dodi Shumacher/Lulu Reinhartd. The American trumpter Dominick Farinacci -- a great player who also did his homework and sounded at home on 'Tears' and 'After You've Gone' (Sunday's second set version also had vocalist Melba Joyce from the Count Basie Orchestra join in - she totally killed; as the kids say). Dominick sounded much older than 22 - I thought he sounded quite a bit like Harry Edison!

    [Yahoo] Forum contributor Barry Warren was in the audience and we hung out for both shows: when I left @ 2 am, Barry was still jamming with Arturo in the bar. The other forum guys there were Steve Jones (from Swing 39) on Thursday night and Stephane Wremble on Friday (not sure if Wremble is part of this forum but he was very gracious and extremely friendly to me, as were all the others). On Sunday, only some friends from Connecticut came down.

    The band was completely off the hook Saturday night - during the final encore, Samson joined Angelo for four hands on one guitar for a couple of choruses and then, at Ludovic's insistance, some four handed accordion! These guys were really having a great time! Dorado sang on Friday and Sunday, but only one tune each evening. Out of the eight shows and the workshop, I'd have to say the second set on Saturday was the best - with each evening's second sets being better than the early shows.

    The workshop consisted of Angelo with Samson reharmonizing Dark Eyes and going over some arpeggiated runs to use in that type of tune: we went around the room and each played solos over Minor Swing - somewhat embarrassing for some of us.

    The sound problems that had plagued the earlier shows were diminished by the sound engineer packing away most the microphones and using Fender amps on the Bigtone equipped guitars, taking them out of the stage monitors and minimizing the use of mics/monitors as much as possible on stage. Ludovic told me the sound on stage started on Tuesday sounding 'underwater' and finished Sunday sounding 'campfire' which made everyone more comfortable and cheerful: nobody likes a wet Gypsy!

    Ludovic gets my vote as the Most Valuable Player for the entire run: all of his solos reflected a great musicality with lots of virtuoso skill! He really enhanced the whole event - and he had a terrific warm humor that radiated nicely.

    Percussionist David Langlois was limited to the finales/encores but it still brought the house down each show! Brian Torff also played some outstanding solos, including Saturday's drum stick thumping affair with quotes from Smoke on the Water (later echoed by all).

    The Schmitts were impeccable in their playing and infectious with their gigantic smiles: Dorado is a fantastic musician and a great stage presence, while Samson is all smiles and helps everyone share his enthusiasm. In contrast, Angelo is more the mysterious, quiet one; less demonstrative of his joie de vivre though privately I found him to be a very kind and friendly soul - with warm greetings and farewells each day.

    Pierre Blanchard was very physical in his playing -- always fun for the spectators to see the gesticulations of fiddlers... they played a number of tunes from Rendez-vous, including I Got Rhythm and Ménilmontant most shows. He played piano on a few numbers.

    They also played many Dorado compostions - including one I'd like to get a recording of -- 'Am Santa' which reminded me of Chick Corea/Jean Luc Ponty. Brian Torff announced that Brittney Spears has a cover of Bossa Dorado coming out soon (that was a joke).

    All in all a great bunch of shows: nice to meet the artists and forum members - finally put faces and voices to these letters on the screen.

    Also would like to mention a gent named Hans from Belgium who was there each night who has helped bring this music to the international stage: very quiet soul who sat by enjoying every moment of this beautiful music he so dearly loves.

    Thanks to Pat Phillips and the staff at Birdland for doing all this work and bringing all this great music to this country -- I'll be back: anyone who can, should try to get to the Disney concert hall for Wednesday's final show before they all go back to Europe.

    Norman CT/USA

    epilogue: I went into this arrangement without looking closely at the details: after the fact, I realized I agreed to work the CD sales for Thursday through Sunday, both shows 8 *and* 11 pm! This meant getting there (*there* being 44th street and one block over from Broadway -- so basically Times Square) by 7 pm each night and not leaving til 1:30 am at the absolute earliest -- and then driving back to my home in Connecticut. I concluded I had made a mistake but decided to go through with it and make the best of it... ultimately, I felt like I went on a working vacation and returned to work Monday morning, positively invigorated! I really had a great time, saw eight shows and a workshop, bought a pile of CDs and yakked with some of my heroes on a day-to-day basis! I was at the world-wide epicenter of this music for four solid days: I feel blessed!
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