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The Spirit of Django and Grappelli 2008 at Rose Theater
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The Spirit of Django and Grappelli 2008 at Rose Theater

- Jazz and Cabaret Corner

67 Wine & Spirits


179 Columbus Avenue
New York, NY 10023
212.724.6767

Located near Lincoln Center
on NYC's West Side.
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Fujitsu Jazz Festival
(Fujitsu US Website)

Presents:
The Spirit of Django and Grappelli 2008
(Django Reinhardt Bio)
(Stephane Grappelli Bio)
With
Dorado Schmitt, Lead Guitar, Vocals, and Violin
Samson Schmitt, Guitar
Peter Beets, Piano
Bucky Pizzarelli, Guitar
Howard Alden, Guitar
Harry Allen, Saxophone
Brian Torff, Bass
Alvester Garnett, Drums

Special Guest: Regina Carter, Violin

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

Produced by Stratta/Philips Productions
Pat Philips and Ettore Stratta

Sponsored by Fujitsu, Inc., RD Wright, Inc.,
Manouche Guitars, John Pearse Strings,
Buckingham Hotel, Roland Corp., US, WBGO 88.3


Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
July 31, 2008


(See Spirit of Django Reinhardt 2007).

Once again, Pat Philips and Ettore Stratta presented their annual Django Reinhardt summer extravaganza, which, for the past few years, has been held in the elegant surroundings of Frederick P. Rose Hall. This year’s Django celebration was also a tribute to the master French violinist, Stephane Grappelli, who performed and recorded extensively with Django in the Quintette of the Hot Club of France. In an effort to evoke this historical partnership, Philips and Stratta invited the renowned American jazz violinist, Regina Carter to join the father-son duo, Dorado Schmitt and Samson Schmitt, from France. Also appearing were American star guitarists Bucky Pizzarelli and Howard Alden, Dutch pianist, Peter Beets, and three more American artists, saxophonist, Harry Allen, bassist, Brian Torff, and drummer, Alvester Garnett. Dorado Schmitt doubled on violin, as well, for more Grappelli intonations.

Pat Philips welcomed the fans and thanked this year’s sponsors, listed above, especially Fujitsu, Inc., for whom tonight’s Jazz Festival was named. As the summer Django Festival always begins, a few musicians walked onto the stage, one by one, and the music built from this first ensemble: Peter Beets, Samson Schmitt, Dorado Schmitt, Brian Torff, and Alvester Garnett. Dorado’s fingers sped through his strings, with especially fast and deep rhythms. Dorado seems to have expanded his style (the musicians were particularly relaxed this year) to include extra gypsy jazz refrains. The first two pieces were Reinhardt’s “Minor Swing” and “Troublant Bolero”. Dorado took a solo in the second, using tiny picks, with Samson in tight rhythmic accompaniment. It should be noted that Dorado Schmitt always wears a stunning suit or sportswear ensemble, and his attire tonight was a black suit with sparkling, silver trim. His personality is huge, and throughout the evening he gestured, joked in French, kissed his son’s forehead, and clapped for his colleagues. He also told the audience, in French, that his son has played with the band for eight years now, and time and again, Dorado gazed at his son with visible pride.

Soon Howard Alden (who played the Gypsy guitar film score in Woody Allen’s “Sweet and Lowdown”) appeared, and Dorado took out his violin. Peter Beets added a fresh jazz dynamic, with Howard alternating with Dorado on the theme. Grappelli had arrived in spirit on the stage. “Bossa Dorado” followed with a Bossa Nova beat, and Dorado continued on his violin, taking a long, sultry ride south of the border. Howard is a master of this genre, and this piece had understated charm. In another duo, Howard Alden and Bucky Pizzarelli played “Three Little Words”. Soon, Regina Carter, Bucky Pizzarelli, Samson Schmitt, Brian Torff, and Peter Beets alternated with Howard and Samson, while Alvester Garnett kept the rhythm soft and smooth on drums. And so the program proceeded, with musical diversity, unique personalities, and a flowing shift in instrumental combinations. It should also be noted that several of the guitars of the night were designed and manufactured by Manouche, a company with British headquarters, a Philadelphia office for the US distribution, and a plant in Korea. The Manouche guitars sounded ever so special and scintillating, adding endless sparkle to these musical fireworks. Perhaps it was due to his Manouche guitar, that Dorado improvised with new embellishments, like tiny bits of “Surrey with the Fringe on Top” and “La Marseillaise”.

Additional highlights included Peter Beets’ tribute to Oscar Peterson, “You Look Good to Me”, that progressed from melodic ballad to animated swing and back again, for a romantic finish, plus a combination for one of Dorado’s pieces, with Harry Allen on sax and Dorado on violin, accompanied by Peter Beets, Samson, and Brian Torff. Harry took the soulful theme, passing it to Peter on piano, then to Samson on guitar, for Samson’s first solo of the night. Dorado went back to his violin to echo his impassioned phrases. “What Now My Love” followed, swinging and pulsating, with Harry Allen on his fuller, even more vibrant tenor sax, and with Dorado back on textured guitar chords. “Them There Eyes” was performed on two guitars, before Dorado sang his own composition in French and Manouche (a Gypsy French language), giving Harry Allen soothing solos in Dorado’s “Retrouvez Le Temps”. With a swift contrast in mood and tempo, “Sweet Georgia Brown” followed, with two virtuoso violins onstage, thanks to Regina and Dorado. In another shift, Dorado’s composition in honor of Ettore Stratta, with Dorado on solo violin and Samson on lead guitar, was emotional and replete with Italian intonations. As a finale, the entire ensemble came out, and each guitarist took a sassy solo. The audience responded with lengthy and adoring accolades. Kudos to Pat Philips and Ettore Stratta, and kudos to tonight artists and Fujitsu, Inc., for another memorable summer Jazz Festival, this time honoring both Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli.



Django and Grappelli Concert Rehearsal
Courtesy Of Jerry Lacay




Samson Schmitt in Rehearsal
Courtesy Of Jerry Lacay




In Rehearsal
Brian Torff and Alvester Garnett
Courtesy Of Jerry Lacay




In Rehearsal
Dorado Schmitt, Brian Torff, Samson Schmitt
Courtesy Of Jerry Lacay




Bucky Pizzarelli in Rehearsal
Courtesy Of Jerry Lacay




Peter Beets in Rehearsal
Courtesy Of Jerry Lacay




Harry Allen in Rehearsal
Courtesy Of Jerry Lacay




Samson Schmitt in Rehearsal
Courtesy Of Jerry Lacay




Dorado Schmitt in Rehearsal
Courtesy Of Jerry Lacay




Bucky Pizzarelli and Howard Alden in Rehearsal
Courtesy Of Jerry Lacay




In Concert
Alvester Garnett, Dorado Schmitt, Howard Alden
Courtesy Of Jerry Lacay




In Concert
Bucky Pizzarelli, Howard Alden, Regina Carter
Courtesy Of Jerry Lacay




In Concert
Dorado Schmitt, Samson Schmitt, Alvester Garnett
Courtesy Of Jerry Lacay




In Concert
Peter Beets, Brian Torff, Alvester Garnett,
Samson Schmitt, Dorado Schmitt
Courtesy Of Jerry Lacay




After Concert
Regina Carter, Dorado Schmitt, and Samson Schmitt
Courtesy Of Jerry Lacay




After Concert
Pat Philips, Regina Carter, Dorado Schmitt, Samson Schmitt
Courtesy Of Jerry Lacay




After Concert
Pat Philips, Ettore Stratta,
Dorado Schmitt, Evan, Ashley, and Baby Sophie
Courtesy Of Jerry Lacay




Barry Warhoftig, Samson Schmitt, John Vickers
with Manouche Guitars
Courtesy Of Roberta E. Zlokower




Ben Wood with a Manouche Guitar
Courtesy Of Roberta E. Zlokower




Bucky Pizzarelli and Howard Alden
at Leisure
Courtesy Of Roberta E. Zlokower




Pat Philips and Fujitsu America, Inc. Executives
Courtesy Of Roberta E. Zlokower




Hiroshi Haruki, Fujitsu America Inc., and Guest
Courtesy Of Roberta E. Zlokower




Harry Allen at Leisure
Courtesy Of Roberta E. Zlokower







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