Direct from Paris, France
The Django All-Stars
Raven Theater, 115 North St.
Sunday, June 11, 1 p.m.
$45 and $30
For the matchless combination of virtuosity and passion nothing beats the music of the legendary Belgian gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt, and no ensemble evokes his genius quite like the Django Festival All-Stars, a French-based outfit who pride themselves on the authenticity of their approach to “jazz manouche” – Gypsy Jazz, that is.
Featuring guitarist Samson Schmitt (the son of group founder Dorado Schmitt), accordionist Ludovic Beier and violinist Pierre Blanchard (himself a prodigy of Reinhardt’s illustrious partner, Stephane Grappelli), supported by Doudou Cuillerier on rhythm guitar and bassist Antonio Licusati, the Django All-Stars bring new life to Reinhardt’s imperishable art.
The Django All-stars come direct from France on their only US tour in this configuration this year. Forgoing a drummer, yet relying on the rhythmic flair that each band member brings to the stage, the All-stars build up a huge head of steam, careening through noted Reinhardt repertoire (“Nuages,” “Manoir de mes Rêves” as well as standards (“How High the Moon,” “Them There Eyes,” “Out of Nowhere”) done up in the Gypsy jazz style, and engaging originals that both evoke the classic sound and incorporate eclectic musical sources.
Virtuosos all, the members of the All-Stars are out to astonish with their outsized musical gifts, yet always honor the beauty and heart-on-sleeve expressiveness that is an unmistakable and irreplaceable element of jazz manouche. Bringing romance, exoticism, finger flying velocity and deep lyricism to the music that they love, the All-Stars have become international festival favorites.Just take the word of the celebrated jazz promoter George Wein who said of the group, “They really get the crowd going and are great.”
Or note the praise of another fan, Leonardo DiCaprio, who says, “They are some of the greatest musicians in the world!”