Photo Flash: Leonardo DiCaprio Visits The Django All Stars at Birdland
The Django Festival Allstars - Live At Birdland 2012 CD was released via Three's A Crowd Records TCR 5001 on June 4, 2013. Featuring: Dorado Schmitt-lead guitar & violin, Samson Schmitt-lead & rhythm guitar, Ludovic Beier-accordion & accordina, Pierre Blanchard-violin, Franko Mehrstein-rhythm guitar, Amati Schmitt-lead guitar, Bronson Schmitt-lead guitar, Doudou Cuillerier-rhythm guitar, Xavier Nikq-bass, Jisoo Ok-cello, and Anat Cohen-soprano sax.
The most meaningful tribute that can be paid to great Jazz artists is not to simply pay homage, but to be inspired by that legacy to create new and vibrant music in that same spirit. From that perspective, The Django Festival Allstars CD on Three's A Crowd Records is an unbridled success. With the immortal Django Reinhardt as its life spring, the 14-year old Django Reinhardt New York Festival as its central nervous system, and the Schmitt Gypsy family dynasty as its heartbeat, the Django Festival Allstars bring the legendary Gypsy guitarist's legacy fully into the 21st Century.
While the essence of Django, and his Quintet of the Hot Club de France partner Stephane Grappelli, is fully represented by the remarkable music on this CD, a full palette of Jazz expression is on loving display throughout the 15 delightful tracks.
Django has always been revered as Jazz royalty, but his popularity in New York City has received a tremendous boost through the efforts of the Django Reinhardt Festival's co-founders and producers, Pat Philips and Ettore Stratta through the annual celebration at Birdland that has occurred every year since 2000. But not only has the Festival created a slew of new fans for this timeless music, it has also provided the impetus for a union of amazing musicians who have connected through these events and now are permanently represented by this spectacular recording.
Schmitt family patriarch Dorado, a legendary Gypsy guitarist himself, and his son Samson have been longtime members of the family here. They have since been joined by the younger family members Bronson (21) and Amati (17) to create a veritable guitar dynasty, and all are featured prominently on this CD. The Birdland stage was also the place where the Schmitts were introduced to the two other primary contributors here, accordionist/accordina player Ludovic Beier and violinist Pierre Blanchard. These six are buoyed by the stalwart support of rhythm guitarists Doudou Cuillerier and Francko Mehrstein and the highly sympathetic and rhythmic Xavier Nikq on bass. So it's an all-France lineup on hand for this historic recording. Extra spicing to the heady brew is added by the soprano sax of Anat Cohen and the cello of Jisoo Ok, who join in the festivities on one track apiece.
Recorded live at Birdland in 2012, the repertoire features two notable Django classics, a pair of standards, two originals each by Beier and Blanchard, one by Bronson and five by Dorado.
Tour Info: June 22: Regatta Bar, Boston MA 23: Rockland Center for the Arts, Nyack NY 25-30: Birdland, New York NY 26: Noontime concert (for WBGO 88.3fm) Gateway Plaza Center, Newark NJ July 2: Sellersville Theatre, Sellersville PA 3 The Birchmere, Alexandria VA October 25-27: San Francisco Festival November 2: Kennedy Center, Washington DC 5-10: Birdland, New York NY...More TBA
For more information about this album and the Festival, visit www.djangobirdland.com.
Photo Credit: Pat Philips