French guitarist Stephane Wrembel and guests celebrate the music of Django Reinhardt
With Stephane Wrembel, Stochelo Rosenberg, Paulus Schafer, Olli Soikkeli, Simba Baumgartner
and very special guest Sam Bush
Now in its 11th edition, the festival started by Wrembel has grown into a major event that takes the music of Django Reinhardt as a starting point and celebrates the constant evolution of Gypsy Jazz. Repertoire sticks pretty closely to the Django canon but makes its point by relying on re-interpretation, improvisation and interplay between musicians from various backgrounds.
Django Reinhardt was probably the first guitar hero. A gypsy who started out on banjo, he became a sought-after child prodigy in the French musette world only to see his career interrupted when his caravan caught fire, almost killing him..
Left with only three working fingers on his fretting hand, Django switched to guitar and soon perfected a technique that allowed him not only to keep playing, but had him also reach new virtuosic highs.
Beyond the dramatic legend of the maimed guitarist and nonchalant Gypsy, lies a deep and ferociously curious musician. He went from the rom music world to musette balls, and then Louis Armstrong and hot jazz. He played with Duke Ellington, tried electric guitar (he didn’t like it much at first..) and Charlie Parker’s recordings converted him to bebop. He played Bach of course, but was also profoundly influenced by Ravel and Debussy. In short, he was a true musician whose personality was far more complex than his legend would have it.
Django a go go celebrates the legacy of the multifaceted musician - beyond the caricature of the gypsy virtuoso and his three fast fingers. While Wrembel and guests all owe a great debt to Reinhardt’s style, their interests remain multiple. Like their hero, the range of their musical interests is infinite and they know to keep the music alive by always rejuvenating it with new borrowings and new points of views.
About Stephane Wrembel:
Wrembel first familiarized himself with Django’s music by playing with manouche musicians back in his native France. He moved to the US twenty years ago and has since become this country’s best known Gypsy jazz musician. He is best known for scoring the theme song to Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" - which he also performed live during the 2012 Academy Awards - and has been called “a revelation” by Rolling Stone Magazine.
“Perhaps the most creative improviser in Gypsy jazz today, Mr. Wrembel plays the guitar with a rich and colorful lyricism.” The NY Times
“the living face of gypsy jazz, “ The Observer
About Stochelo Rosenberg
Stochelo Rosenberg, a Dutch Gypsy guitarist, is widely seen as the main heir to Django Reinhardt. Faithful to the master’s music, he plays with both amazing technique and exquisite lyricism. He started out mostly playing Gypsy encampments but was soon adopted by Stephane Grappelli with whom he played around the world, including at Carnegie Hall for the violinist’s 85th birthday.
About Paulus SchaferPaulus Schafer is another Gypsy guitarist from the Netherland who has made his mark on the European Gypsy Jazz scene. He has played with the likes of Bireli Lagrene and Fapy Lafertin and collaborates regularly with his friend Stochelo Rosenberg.
About Simba Baumgartner
Simba Rosenberg is Django Reinhardt’s great-grand son, and while this does give him an apparent head start in the jazz manouche world, he is still busy paying his dues in and around Samois - Django’s town to the south of Paris. He first came to prominence at the age of 11, playing for Monaco’s royal family and has played with James Carter, Romane and Angelo Debarre. This will be his first appearance in NY.
Daisy Castro: Violinist Daisy Castro started playing violin at the age of 6. She started out with the Suzuki method and classical music, but quickly learned to play by ear whatever her classical instructors could not teach her. The same year that she started playing, she took a trip to France for a family vacation, where she was first introduced to gypsy jazz. Intrigued as a listener from the start, over the years she has found this beautiful and passionate music to be a perfect fit for her playing style.
She recorded and released her first solo CD, "Gypsy Moth" at the age of 13, and fittingly, it bears a strong gypsy jazz influence.
The summer of the release of this recording, she attended Festival Django Reinhardt, in Samois sur Seine, France, and 3 months later, she attended Djangofest NW, in Washington state. Since then, she has attended various events in Europe and the United States, and hopes the musical adventures will continue.
Sara L’abriola: Sara L’Abriola was born into a very musical family in 1998 in Garrison, New York. Her father Art is an award-winning sound designer and composer; her mother, a singer/guitarist who among other gigs performs with the trio, MotherLode. Sara’s own early musical training included classical guitar at 8 years old, but at 13 she discovered and became passionate about the music of Django Reinhardt. As fortune would have it, Garrison is within studying distance of one of the most talented Gypsy jazz guitarists on the planet, Stephane Wrembel.
Under Stephane’s guidance, Sara began transcribing Django Reinhardt’s solos and developing solid Gypsy jazz technique. That alone is a piece of work that would keep most of us busy for a lifetime. But here’s Sara, at 19 years old, proving that she has more than mere technique and vocabulary at her fingertips—she has something to say.
Pierre "Kamlo" Barré: Rocked in the cradle of a resolutely Mediterranean culture, Pierre ‘Kamlo’ Barré borrows from the universal nomadic music-language of Andalusia, the Arabs and Hungarian or Romany gypsies. Kamlo grew up in Lebanon and Spain (His father was an ancient Greek and French litterature teacher, with a strong need to travel and take his family along) before moving back to France at age 18. He studied the Oud, Spanish guitar and Flamenco, before immersing himself into the Gypsy Jazz world and the music of Django Reinhardt. Since then he has been developing a unique cultural and creative voice. His style incorporate strong cultural and technical elements of Flamenco (The Spanish art form), of the oud (The North African Lute) into the unique sounds of Gypsy Jazz. He still uses the traditional and cultural format of Django’s music, meaning a bass keeping the beat on one and three, giving the pulse, and a rhythm guitars providing the unique Gypsy Jazz balance playing accents on two and four, while reinforcing the pulse of the bass. On top of it is mainly the solo guitars, but also some other instruments such as violin or accordion. His approach of music is very cultural and very unique. His world-music records, carried by the rare finesse of Barré’s guitar, are a tribute to the itinerant lifestyle of those open to others. Oriental Minor Blues was released with the legendary French label “Fremeaux and Associes”. Fremeaux’s activity focuses mainly on documenting unique cultural music, spoken words or written texts. Their turned their registered office into and art gallery in Vincennes France.
Ari Folman-Cohen: Ari supplies a solid, creative and melodic function to any musical endeavor in which he finds himself. He began his musical career in New York City in 2006, and has since established himself as a go-to bass player for a wide array of music, both on upright and electric bass. Ari is a founding member of Aabaraki - an acclaimed indie-soul group affiliated with Rockwood Music Hall Records. He juggles a busy schedule supporting many singer/songwriters, jazz, experimental and world musicians in the New York area and beyond. Included in this list are Avante-Latin group Gato Loco, which records for the German jazz label Winter and Winter, and singer/songwriter Lynette Williams. As a bassist for French guitarist, Stephane Wrembel, Ari is well-versed in the French Gypsy Jazz repertoire and has firmly established himself as a top purveyor of this style of bass. Past stints include touring with renowned trumpeter/vocalist Jennifer Hartswick, recording and performing with pianist Sam Barsh, studio recordings for rapper Angel Haze, collaboration with experimental guitarist Mike Gamble and drummer Bobby Previte as well as performance art pieces centered around experimentation with solo bass and effects.
Olli Soikkeli was born in Nurmes, Finland in 1991. Now based in New York City. He started playing guitar at age of 12. After a few years of playing Olli was introduced to the music of great Django Reinhardt and Gypsy Jazz has been Ollis main focus ever since. Soon Olli was playing in jazz clubs and festivals all around Finland. After touring all around Europe with musicians such as Paulus Schäfer and Arnoud Van Den Berg Olli decided to move to New York City in 2014. Olli has played legendary venues such as Birdland Jazz Club, Blue Note and the Lincoln Center.
Despite his young age he’s already played with stars such as Bucky Pizzarelli, Stochelo Rosenberg, Tommy Emmanuel, Andreas Öberg, Cyrille Aimee, Anat Cohen, Antti Sarpila and Marian Petrescu.In 2011 Olli recorded his first album “Trois Générations” with Hot Club de Finlande and Vitali Imereli and in 2012 he recorded his second album “Kouvola Junction” with Paulus Schäfer and Arnoud van den Berg. 2014 Rhythm Future Quartet’s debut album was released. 2016 Rhythm Future Quartet’s second album ‘Travels’was released which received rave reviews including Best albums of 2016 by Huffington Post and All About Jazz magazines.
Paulus Schäfer: Paulus Schäfer (born 1978) is today one of the most talented Gypsy Jazz guitarists from The Netherlands. Born into a Dutch Sinti (Gypsy) community he learned to play the guitar at a very early age. Besides listening to fellow Sinti and records of his idol Django Reinhardt, it was Wasso Grünholz – a legend within the Sinti community – from whom he learned the most. After a short period of time, in which Paulus briefly took over the lead guitar of Jimmy Rosenberg in the Gipsy Kids, he formed the Paulus Schäfer Gipsy Band and recorded his debut album Into the Light in 2002, followed by many concerts and numerous – headlining – invitations to jazz festivals: Sziget Festival Budapest (H), Khamoro Prague (CZ), IGGF Gossington (UK), Django Reinhardt Festival Samois-sur-Seine (FR), Gipsy Festival Anger (FR), International Gipsyfestival (NL), International Guitar Festival Kaluga (RU), Django in June (USA), Copenhagen Jazz Festival (DNK), Djangofollies (BEL), Django Liberchies (BEL), Tampere Guitar Festival 2015 (FIN), Seixal Jazz (PO), Jazz Dock Prag (CZ), Victoria Django Festival (CAN), Raduno Mediterraneo Jazz Manouche (ITA), Amersfoort Jazz (NL), Haarlem Jazz (NL), Breda Jazz (NL), Jazz in Duketown (NL), Yes Gouda Jazz, Jazzclub Reduta Prag (CZ), Clamores Madrid (ES), Django Amsterdam (NL), Django a Gogo (US), Carnegie Hall NY (US) etc. to name a few.
Being a musician on high demand, Paulus is often to be found on stage with other musicians like The Rosenberg Trio, Biréli Lagrène, Stochelo Rosenberg, Stephane Wrembel, Al Di Meola, Fapy Lafertin, Larry Keel, Jimmy Rosenberg, Tim Kliphuis, Feigeli Prisor, Andreas Öberg, Olli Soikkeli, Gonzalo Bergara, Ritary Gaguenetti, Jan Kuiper, Jan Akkerman, Peter Beets, Tcha Limberger, Dominique Paats etc. and can be found on many albums. He also recorded two more albums with his own group in 2006, Desert Fire and Live at the NWE Vorst with the Paulus Schäfer Gipsy Band and The Tilburg Big Band. In March 2012 he released Twelfth Year, in which he guaranteed the assistance of Tim Kliphuis, Nous’che and Stochelo Rosenberg. In the same year two new albums been released. The surprising Rock Django and the Scandinavian album with Hot Club d’Europe Kouvola Junction. In November 2014 he had recorded with his trio and accordeonist Dominique Paats the cd album Rocky. With the CD Letter to van Gogh, October 2015 Paulus Schäfer brings a homage to this Dutch artist from Brabant. It is a unique album of his exclusive compositions. Paulus has a particular sound, easy recognised, and although all Paulus’ albums are true to a distinctive Gipsy Jazz/Swing sound; Paulus is always looking for a new modern sound. Not only to broaden his own horizons, but also for a more representative Gipsy Jazz sound for the 21st century. The violinist Tim Kliphuis typifies Paulus playing: ‘His singing tone, fearsome technique and well-balanced solos instantly reminded me of my days with Fapy Lafertin, who turned out to have been mentoring Paulus‘. On May 30 2013 he has been awarded by Mr. Akimov of the International Guitar Festival ‘The World of Guitar’ (Kaluga – Russian Federation) for his ‘special contribution to contemporary development of Gypsy Jazz’