Dorado Schmitt, legendary Manouche gypsy guitarist from the Strasbourg region of France, returns to Birdland to adoring fans. Schmitt started coming to the Festival in 2002 and has been a star attraction. One of his goals has been to introduce his sons, young guitarists, to the NY audience as he did with Samson Schmitt who is now out on his own. Young Amati joins his Dad at the Festival this year side by side as Dorado did with his Dad in the tradition of gypsy life.
Ludovic Beier, from Paris, has been a regular at the Festival on accordion and accordina, a very interesting instrument sometimes called a mouth accordion. Pierre Blanchard also returns, from France, on Violin. When he is not joining the gypsies, Pierre performs with symphonies and other top artists, a very accomplished musician. On bass is Dorado's own bassist from France Xavier Nikq, and on rhythm guitar Francko Mehrstein, also from the gypsy community near Strasbourg. This is Franco's first time in the big apple.
Dorado Schmitt, a Django look alike with his pencil thin mustache, suffered a terrible accident years ago as Django Reinhardt did in his life. Dorado's was a car accident that put him in a coma for a long time and damaged his body, but he miraculously recovered. Django lost two fingers in a fire in his caravan which led to the incredible style of music he created due to his special fingering on the guitar. Dorado carries on the legacy of Django with the help of other gifted musicians as you will see at Birdland on Nov. 1-6., Produced by Pat Philips & Ettore Stratta who created the Festival in 2000.
Each night the Festival has a Special Guest that sits in with the band, a top musician 'living in the US'. This year it includes Edmar Castaneda (Colombian Jazz Harpist), Jorge Continentino (Brazilian Sax), Borislav Strulev (Russian Cellist), Dominick Farinacci, Ken Peplowski and more TBA.
Dorado, Ludovic, Pierre, Xavier, and Franco will tour the country: Oct. 29 The Kennedy Center, Nov. 1-6 Birdland, Nov. 8th Hudson River PAC in Weehauken - NJ, Nov. 11th Regatta Bar - Boston, Nov. 13 The San Francisco Festival - Herbst Hall, Nov. 14 Kuumbwa Jazz Center - Santa Cruz - Calif., Nov. 15, 16, 17 Jazz Alley in Seattle, and Nov. 18 and 19 Sagerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa Calif.