10th Anniversary DJANGO REINHARDT NY FESTIVAL @ Birdland

Launched in 2000, The DJANGO REINHARDT NY FESTIVAL, the brainstorm of producers Pat Philips & Ettore Stratta, has become one of the most successful and highly anticipated annual musical events in the NY area with people flying in from all over the country to see some of the best ‘HOT JAZZ’ in the world. Ahmet Ertegun, who was a revered giant in the record industry, attended that 1st year and remarked ‘that he hadn’t seen that much excitement in a club since his early days in NYC”.  He went on to release a CD of 2000 which included Bireli Lagrene, Jimmy Rosenberg, and Babik (Django’s only son), his only recording in the US. The festival is dedicated to the memory of dear friend HANS MEELEN who turned the producers on to his great love of this music!

2009 marks the 10th Anniversary held at its official home, Birdland.  Hot Gypsy Jazz lives on!  Django, who was the partner of virtuoso Jazz Violinist Stephane Grappelli in the 30’s  and 40’s in Europe with  their Hot Club Quintette, left an indelible mark on music which continues on in the hands of thousands of top musicans around the world including stars such as Willie Nelson. Tony Bennett has written an English lyric to Django’s most famous song “Nuages”.

Gypsy Jazz is just that! It is Jazz coming out of the Gypsy life where children at three can be holding guitars while fathers and grandfathers sit  around and  play, many times in the caravans.  It is music passed from one generation to the other with love, amongst family, taken to the parks, streets, and boites, and as it became accepted as important music –  went to established clubs and concert halls where it is today, almost 100 years later.

Appearing will be the legendary TCHAVOLO SCHMITT, his first time at Birdland. Born in a gypsy family, living in Strasbourg, France, he epitoimizes ‘a swing of madness’ combined with romantic emotion.  He is joined by his nephew, SAMSON SCHMITT, a regular at the Festival where he grew up alongside his Dad, DORADO SCHMITT, who will return to NY on February 2nd in an important concert ending a US tour celebrating DJANGO’s ‘100th Birthday” also produced by Philips and Stratta.

ANDREAS OBERG, from Stockholm, is one of the most fluent young stylists on the guitar playing today. LUDOVIC BEIER, a real virtuoso from Paris, has also been a regular  at  the Festival playing Accordion and Accordina – a rare instrument that  is a cross between a harmonica and the accordion. Add to this community of musicians, AURORE VOILQUE, young female Violinist from  France, her first time to the US who became  part of the Manouche Jazz scene in Paris playing with all the great swing artists.  On Rhythm Guitar, which is vitally important to ‘hot jazz’, is Ted Gottsegan living in nearby Queens who has performed with the top players of this music including Robin Nolan.

A very adventurous part of the evening is when, each night, a US jazz musician steps in as special guest.  Most times, unless a repeat appearance, the players meet this guest for the first time and magic erupts bringing smiles to the faces of the musicians and audience alike. It is sometimes very daring but fun for the US artists to join into this excitement without rehearsal. Basically a few #’s are called backstage and ‘away we go’. That is the freedom of this Festival where anything can happen and does. Improvisation on all fronts abounds and creates surprises and a great time for all.


Nov. 3: Sax Great Joel Frahm
4:  Washboard  Percussionist:  David Langlois
5:  Another Trumpet Great:  Terrell Stafford
6:  Colombian Jazz Harpist:  Edmar Castaneda
7:  Harmonica Master:  Hendrik Meurkens
8:  Trumpet  Virtuoso:  Dominick Farinacci

It  all  happens  at BIRDLAND: 315 W. 44th Street in NYC –Showtimes:   8:30 &  11:00 PM -- Reservations: (212) 581-3080 or www.birdlandjazz.com

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