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The Jazz Guitar: A Tribute to Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian at Rose Theater
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The Jazz Guitar: A Tribute to Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian at Rose Theater

- Jazz and Cabaret Corner

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Jazz at Lincoln Center Presents:
Django Reinhardt
And Charlie Christian:
Celebration of The Jazz Guitar
(Django Reinhardt Bio)
(Charlie Christian Bio)
Lewis Nash, Music Director, Drums
Rose Theater
Frederick P. Rose Hall

Bobby Broom, Guitar
Russell Malone, Guitar
Frank Vignola, Guitar
Mulgrew Miller, Piano
Peter Washington, Bass
Avery Brooks, Host

Scott Thompson and Zooey Tidal, Press

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
May 2, 2008

Tonight, Jazz at Lincoln Center created a tribute celebration to guitar greats, Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian, on the occasion of their induction into the Neshui Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame. Charlie Christian, an electric guitar performer of Blues and Swing, raised in Oklahoma, who died in his twenties and recorded with Benny Goodman, was a strong influence on Les Paul, Jim Hall, and B. B. King. Django Reinhardt, a Belgian, Gypsy Jazz composer and artist, whose repertoire has been frequently reviewed in this magazine, was a powerful influence on gypsy guitarists, such as Dorado Schmitt, Bireli Lagrène, and Frank Vignola.

Avery Brooks, the event's Host, offered entertaining and historical comments throughout the program, with a deep, theatrical voice and magnetic personality. Charlie Christian’s “Wholly Cats” opened the evening, with Bobby Broom and Russell Malone conversing charmingly with their scintillating guitars, before Frank Vignola and Mulgrew Miller joined on additional guitar and piano. This bouncy tune lifted the audience into the realized expectation of a dazzling program. Eubie Blake’s “Memories of You” showcased Russell Malone in a tender solo, followed by Charlie Christian’s “Soft Winds”. Soon Malone and Frank Vignola took a duo, with complimentary and contrasting rhythms. One of the high points of the evening was Frank Vignola’s rendition of Reinhardt’s “Nuages”, played with a few fingers, exactly the way the composer was forced to play it, and each note had its own mysterious, sensual tone. Mulgrew Miller joined in with a stylized and playful piano solo, so in keeping with the Reinhardt sound.

“Minor Swing”, by Reinhardt, featured Miller, Peter Washington on bass, Lewis Nash on drums, and Vignola on moody, minor chords. Mulgrew Miller got to shine here, with a virtuosic take, followed by Washington and then Vignola, in a generous gypsy riff. Music Director, Lewis Nash, added flourish with flying drum brushes. “Rhythm Future” and “Stardust” were performed in a Louis Armstrong spirit, before Miller and Vignola took a featured duo. The next duo, Russell Malone and Bobby Broom, gave the fans that bluesy, undulating sound that spoke to tonight’s theme, with bass, drums, and piano in gentle accompaniment. Broom was then featured in a mellow rendition of “These Foolish Things” before a rambunctious version of “I’ve Found a New Baby”. Washington got his long, bass theme here, as the stage kept rocking. Finally, Lewis Nash got his drum solo, too, grabbing the rhythms and taking the stage on a rollicking ride.

The finale was Benny Goodman’s “Seven Come Eleven”, with the whole ensemble in rapid succession, passing the theme from artist to artist. Kudos to Jazz at Lincoln Center for this classy, jazz guitar celebration. Check for their current and upcoming jazz calendars.

Actor Avery Brooks, Narrator
Courtesy of Frank Stewart/Jazz at Lincoln Center

Russell Malone, Frank Vignola, Bobby Broom
Courtesy of Frank Stewart/Jazz at Lincoln Center

Full Band Performing
Courtesy of Frank Stewart/Jazz at Lincoln Center

Lewis Nash, Music Director, Joins on Drums
Courtesy of Frank Stewart/Jazz at Lincoln Center

Bobby Broom on Guitar
Courtesy of Frank Stewart/Jazz at Lincoln Center

The Concert Finale
Courtesy of Frank Stewart/Jazz at Lincoln Center

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at