Roberta on the Arts
Spirit of Django Reinhardt 2007 at Rose Theater
Home
Contact Roberta
Jazz and Cabaret Corner
On Location with Roberta
In the Galleries: Artists and Photographers
Backstage with the Playwrights and Filmmakers
Classical and Cultural Connections
New CDs
Arts and Education
Upcoming Events
Special Events
Memorable Misadventures
Mailbag
Our Sponsors

Spirit of Django Reinhardt 2007 at Rose Theater

- Jazz and Cabaret Corner

Spirit of Django Reinhardt 2007
(Django Reinhardt Bio)
With
Dorado Schmitt, Lead Guitar; Samson Schmitt, Lead - Rhythm Guitar; Ludovic Beier, Accordion - Accordina;
Pierre Blanchard, Violin; Brian Torff, Bass;
Guest: Edmar Castaneda, Harp

John Jorgenson, Lead Guitar - Clarinet; Charlie Chadwick, Bass;
Stephan Dudash, Violin; Gonzalo Bergara, Rhythm Guitar;
Rick Reed, Percussion

At Rose Theater
Frederick P. Rose Hall
Jazz at Lincoln Center
www.jalc.org

Produced by Stratta/Philips Productions
Pat Philips and Ettore Stratta
(Stratta/Philips Website)

Presented by Absente, Absinthe Refined, and Michel Roux


Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
August 1, 2007


(See Spirit of Django Reinhardt 2006). (See Dorado Schmitt CD Review).

Pat Philips and Ettore Stratta have mounted another success in their annual Spirit of Django Reinhardt productions at Rose Theater. Each November, these producers mount the week-long Django Reinhardt Festival at Birdland Jazz Club, and the lead musicians remain the same as those in this traditional summer event.. Philips and Stratta surround the charismatic French gypsy guitar duo, Dorado Schmitt and his son, Samson Schmitt, with announcer, Brian Torff on bass, the humorous Ludovic Beier on accordion and accordina (part harmonica, part accordion), and a variety of revolving guest artists. This year, Philips and Stratta brought Pierre Blanchard back on violin and introduced Edmar Castaneda on harp. They also introduced the band, John Jorgenson Quintet, with John Jorgenson on guitar and clarinet, Charlie Chadwick on bass, Stephan Dudash on violin, Gonzalo Bergara on rhythm guitar, and Rick Reed on percussion.

The dynamic evening built to a frenzy, opening with the John Jorgenson Quintet, and they will certainly return, with their swinging style. They played an original “Musette” style waltz, Jorgenson’s “Snowflake Waltz”, like a bevy of bejeweled ballerinas spinning endlessly, a mesmerizing moment, early on. Jorgenson’s highly professional and rapid style was rousing and rambunctious. He alternated with his clarinet to showcase his easy versatility. Another piece had Arabic-Flamenco exoticism. Jorgenson’s presentation of Grieg’s “Norwegian Dance”, originally played by Reinhardt, slowed into a lullaby-like theme, a storybook melody, with soaring high strings. “Dinah”, a Hot Club 1930’s recording was replete with rapture. Jorgenson illuminated each piece anecdotally, with historical interest, to draw the audience in. He even played a two-fingered technique to mimic Django’s signature style (Reinhardt had been injured in a fire), showcasing individual notes with rare clarity. He closed with “Souvenir de Nos Pères”.

After intermission, Pat Philips gave a new guitar to a young, deserving artist, and the girl was truly touched. Soon, the very dapper Dorado Schmitt, Samson Schmitt, Ludovic Beier, Brain Torff, and Pierre Blanchard took the stage, with an occasional shift in musicians appearing and re-appearing, and Dorado spoke to his fans in French. He also sang in French, with earthy intonations, evoking Aznavour. “Troublant Bolero” sparkled as did some sultry accordion pieces and Dorado’s contagious dynamism. Pierre Blanchard won the crowd with “Someone to Watch Over Me”, played elegantly, with class and persuasion, ending with a hint of “American in Paris”. “I Got Rhythm” turned wild on Blanchard’s violin, and Dorado and Pierre could have been Django and Stéphane (Grappelli). Dorado’s timing of this piece was daring and dizzy. Another duo, “Sweet Georgia Brown”, had Blanchard’s violin morphing into a one-instrument fiddle-fest.

Dorado’s composition “Melissa”, had a Brazilian Samba sound with sensitive, playful contrasts. One could only imagine who Melissa may have been. It was followed by another personal tribute, Dorado’s “Natasha”. During the evening, Ludovic Beier provided some humor, as he had forgotten his accordina offstage and ran back to get it. He bent over like a French detective, slithering offstage in adorable gestures. And, when Ludovic opened his accordion to its full potential, the fullest dramatic sound emanated effusively. His rapid finger-work never ceases to amaze. Brian Torff, who doubles as Music Director in the Fall Django events, was the foundation and structure behind the band at all times. His rich bass was intrinsic to the texture and timing. Samson Schmitt, now lead and rhythm guitar, has grown immensely since I attended the second NY Django event (2001), and he is poised to lead his own groups with technical pizzazz. Dorado is duly proud of his son, watching him perform with visible joy. Samson Schmitt is an artist to watch.

Another artist to watch is Edmar Castaneda, who plays gypsy jazz harp to surreal proportions. He has Latin flair, and his fresh fusion with the violin and accordion was exceptionally unique. Edmar was visibly excited to be participating in this NY summer tradition, and his harp strings literally flew “en air”. I’m already looking forward to Spirit of Django Reinhardt 2008. Kudos to Pat Philips and Ettore Stratta once again.



Spirit of Django Reinhardt Rehearsal
Photo courtesy of Jerry Lacay



Dorado Schmitt, Samson Schmitt, Brian Torff in Rehearsal
Photo courtesy of Jerry Lacay



Ludovic Beier in Rehearsal
Photo courtesy of Jerry Lacay



Ludovic on Accordina
Photo courtesy of Jerry Lacay



Samson Schmitt and Brian Torff in Rehearsal
Photo courtesy of Jerry Lacay



Edmar Castaneda in Rehearsal
Photo courtesy of Jerry Lacay



Dorado, Brian, and Pierre Blanchard in the Dressing Room
Photo courtesy of Jerry Lacay



Producers, Pat Philips and Ettore Stratta in the Dressing Room
Photo courtesy of Jerry Lacay



Pierre, Brian, Dorado, Ludovic, Samson in the Dressing Room
Photo courtesy of Jerry Lacay



John Jorgenson Quintet Opens the Concert
Photo courtesy of Jerry Lacay



John Jorgenson Quintet
Photo courtesy of Jerry Lacay



Pat Philips Presents a Scholarship to a Young Guitar Student
Photo courtesy of Jerry Lacay



Edmar Castaneda Joins Pierre, Brian, and Dorado
Photo courtesy of Jerry Lacay



Edmar, Pierre, Brian, Dorado, Samson, and Ludovic
Photo courtesy of Jerry Lacay



Spirit of Django Reinhardt Finale
Photo courtesy of Jerry Lacay



Pat Philips and Dorado Schmitt after the Concert
Photo courtesy of Jerry Lacay



Jazz at Lincoln Center Entrance
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower




For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net