The Django Reinhardt NY Festival Brings The Young Lions of Gypsy Jazz to Birdland, 6/25
Location: Birdland, 315 W. 44th Street
Shows: June 25-30, 8:30 & 11:00 pm
Reservations: 212-581-3080 or
Full dinner menu - Parking nearby
"The greatest jazz show in town" says Will Friedwald of The Wall Street Journal.
With the immortal Django Reinhardt as its life spring, the 14-year old festival as its central nervous system, the Django festival brings the legendary Gypsy guitarist's legacy fully into the 21st century. Hot jazz at it's sweetest and meanest with a full palette of jazz expression on loving display. The festival is produced by Pat Philips & Ettore Stratta.
As Samson Schmitt grew up alongside his dad on the Birdland stage, it was time to move on and break out on his own. He heads the pack with the great Parisien accordionist/accordina player Ludovic Beier on one side and virtuoso violinist Pierre Blanchard on the other. The new addition to the band is the very talented rhythm guitarist Doudou Cuillerier who brings the crowd to its feet when he 'breaks out into scat singing'. All from France, one American holds it all together with his swinging bass, Brian Torff. The very talented guitarist KRUNO from Philadelphia will be a Special Guest.
Other top Guest Appearances: June 25 & 26: Peter Beets/jazz pianist from Holland, 27: David Langlois /washboards, 28: Anat Cohen /sax&clarinet, 29 & 30: Edmar Castaneda/Jazz harp.
It's a rip-roaring event, now in its 14th year with a new CD just released titled DJANGO FESTIVAL ALLSTARS on Three's A Crowd Records. Each of the artists from France, above mentioned, are part of the recording. Interesting to note, the band exists only 'for America', Birdland, and the tours that surround the Festival appearances. Once over, they go their separate ways with the exception of Samson and Ludovic who perform together occasionally in France. So it becomes a great reunion on the Birdland stage filled with smiles and joy! One might call it a lovefest !
Much of the music will be from the new CD, many originals along with well-known Django compositions and standards. Guitar virtuosity is naturally on display alongside the enormously talented musicians bringing the audience to its feet.
Participating sponsors: VERIZON, RD WRIGHT INC.
John and Joan D'AdDario Found., John Pearse Strings
With the Support of France Rocks and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy
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.