Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Django Festival Allstars Live At Birdland

The inspirational genius of Django Reinhardt has inspired a new generation to not only keep the Gypsy jazz genre alive but to push the music forward with more innovative jazz harmonies and melodic counterpoint. The 14 year old Django festival may well be ground zero for the tremendous uptick in interest not only in the music of Django Reinhardt but also musical partner Stehane Grappelli.

Leading the charge of innovation and inspiration we find the Schmitt famililes new Gypsy jazz dynasty front and center as younger family members have now brought their six string flights of fancy and expanded the family tree even further. The Birdland venue was also where the Schmitt family met up with accordionist / accordina player Ludovic Beier and violist Pierre Blanchard. Instead of rehashed riffs on Django classics we find the wealth evenly spread between two Django classics, a pair of standards, two originals by Beier and Blanchard, one by Bronson and five by Dorado. Virtuoso woodwind artist Anat Cohen makes an all too brief cameo along with the more eclectic sound in this particular format in the cello performance by Jisoo Ok.

"Swing Gitan" kicks off the party with a more foot to the floor  pulsating rhythmic melody while "Nuages" is passion dialed down to make room for the smoldering soprano sax of Anat Cohen. "Manoir de Mes Reves" feature the accordina which is a mouth piece organ and magically captures the essence of France during the time both Reinhardt and Grappelli were sharpening their skills.

Gypsy jazz is more than adequately represented here along with the sophisticated harmonic movement more closely associated with the more straight ahead sound here in the United States.
A perfect introduction for those curious about Gypsy jazz and the most fitting of tributes to the visionary talent of Django Reinhardt.

Personnel: Dorado Schmitt: lead guitar & violin; Samson Schmitt: lead & rhythm guitar; Ludovic Beier: accordion & accordina; Pierre Blanchard: violin; Franko Mehrstein: rhythm guitar; Amati Schmidt: lead guitar; Bronson Schmidt: lead guitar; Doudou Cuillerier: rhythm guitar; Xavier Nikq: bass; Jisoo Ok: cello; Anat Cohen: soprano sax.

For more information on this remarkable collective check out: