DJANGO REINHARDT NY FESTIVAL '15th Anniversary' @ Birdland

Article Contributed by Eigo | Published on Wednesday, September 17, 2014

2014 Celebrates 15 years of the Django Reinhardt NY Festival which is has become a big event at Birdland and highly anticipated by the public.  The Festival Allstars tour the US twice a year at major venues and festivals such as The San Francisco Festival, The Newport Jazz Festival, The Kennedy Center, and many more.  See info below of the upcoming Fall tour.

Dorado Schmitt, legendary gypsy guitarist, has been coming to the Festival for over 10 years and along the way taught his sons, Samson, Amati, and Bronson,  the lessons of great gypsy guitar. Now they brace the Birdland stage  with their 'teacher,' ... father passing the lessons on as in gypsy manouche culture.  They come from Forbach, a gypsy community near Strasbourg in France, bringing the authenticity of the music to the NY stage.

Joining them are two favorites of the Festival, Ludovic Beier who Downbeat Magazine said of his performance at Newport this August ...'played as good a solo at Newport as was heard this year.'  The Downbeat article spoke of Samson Schmitt's lightening licks touching melodic genius..nothing short of sensational".  Pierre Blanchard on violin was also a sensation.  All this at Birdland on November 4th - 9th with Francko Mehrstein , a cousin of Dorado on rhythm guitar, and Xavier Nikq from France on bass.

The festival is produced by Pat Philips & Ettore Stratta who have  a long history with this music dating back to their many concerts and recordings with the great jazz violinist Stephane GrappelliDjango Reinhardt's partner in the Hot Club Quintette. It influenced them to launch this festival in 2000 having seen the enormous reaction to HOT JAZZ which Grappelli and Reinhardt created.  The music evolved in the 30's and 40's in France through this important musical partnership, influenced by the likes of Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong and the great American Songbook .  It took Europe by storm !

The Django Festival Allstars have been coming to America and  played alongside many of the tops in Jazz: George Benson, Joe Lovano, Paquito D'Rivera, Anat Cohen, Edmar Castaneda, Frank Wess, Lew Tabakin, Joel Frahm, and so many more.

The Festival Allstars will  embark on a major tour this fall: Oct. 24: Chicago Symphony Center, Oct. 26: Howard Theatre in Wash. DC, Oct. 31: Tilles Center for the Performing Arts/Greenvale, L.I., Nov. 1:  Paramount Theatre/ Peekskill NY,  Nov. 11: The Lobero Theatre/ Santa Barbera, Calif.,  Nov. 12:  The Ojai Arts Center, Nov. 13-16: The San Francisco Jazz Festival (4 concerts ), and  Nov. 17 Kuumwa Jazz Center before returning to Paris.  BIRDLAND, their 'home' is Nov. 4-9.

These talented artists swing like crazy and will break your heart with a ballad.  Each of them are composers and while this music can harken back to the great music of the past, their interpretations, arrangements, virtuosity, and original compositions bring a newness to Django's style and take it beyond. The Producers call it HIP HOT !...

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