Spirit of Django Reinhardt 2004
Stochelo Rosenberg, Lead Guitar; Dorado Schmitt, Lead Guitar; Ludovic Beier, Accordion; Brian Torff, Bass; Roby Lakatos, Violin; Samson Schmitt, Rhythm Guitar; and Gordon Lane, Brushes.
Special Guest: Joe Lovano, Tenor Saxophone
At Alice Tully Hall
Produced by Stratta/Philips Productions
Ettore Stratta and Pat Philips
Presented by The Grand Marnier Foundation.
Additional Sponsors: Dellí Arte Instruments, WBGO 88.3 FM, John Pearse Strings, The Cultural Services of the French Embassy, The Village Voice, Midori and Friends Foundation, and RD Wright Inc.
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
July 28, 2004
Tonightís Stratta/Philips Django Reinhardt event was a bit different from previous Reinhardt tributes with some new faces, new sounds, and some of the most exquisitely rapturous music ever heard on the Tully Hall stage. Stochelo Rosenberg, of Amsterdam, is called a ďguitar GodĒ around the globe. Roby Lakatos, of Hungary, is a renowned gypsy and jazz violinist with an imposing persona, long coat and big hair. Joe Lovano performs on tenor sax with his own groups and at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. Dorado Schmitt, Samson Schmitt, Ludovic Beier, and Brian Torff have all been reviewed in this magazine on several occasions, and they surpassed my wildest expectations with a night of gypsy and swing jazz to be emblazoned in memory. Ettore Stratta and Pat Philips outdid themselves tonight, and Patís presence onstage was exceptionally warm and classy.
The first piece introduced the Quintet, Dorado Schmitt and son, Samson, both on guitar, plus Ludovic Beier on accordion, Brian Torff on bass, and Gordon Lane on brushes. Dorado tore right in with Ludovic blazing through, in skyrocketing sounds of steel guitar and rapid accordion fingering. In Ballade, composed by Dorado, a melancholy lead with contrasting rhythms took eloquent music off the scales. The following piece included the tremendous talents of Stochelo Rosenberg, a vibrant and virtuosic guitarist, and the next work combined Stochelo and Ludovic in a very hot and inspiring Swing.
When Roby Lakatos joined the fray, a new and prominent figure in this ensemble, his violin solo mesmerized the sold-out audience. He followed with a classical music opening in a ballad that encouraged Brian and Gordon to accompany on bass and brushes in warm, earthy tones. When Joe Lovano appeared onstage, another imposing figure, Ludovic took a break. With three guitars and a tenor sax, monumental music was generated in a bluesy ballad. Joe, in a honey-colored suit, provided the contemporary motif to this mixture of jazz genres. Joe and Brian took turns, as bass and brushed drums welcomed Ludovicís accordion back onstage to a hint of guitar and violin.
Following intermission at Tully Hall, Dorado surprised even his most loyal fans with vocals in French, throaty and reminiscent of Aznavour. In a Rhumba rhythm, this sultry and sensual song caught and touched all of us with its romantic intonations. Ludovicís accordion proceeded to take on the quality of a clarinet, one clear tone at a time, and his final note drew audience accolades. Stochelo then joined these musicians with an alternating and bewitching guitar interpretation, prior to Samson and Ludovicís duet on guitar and accordion. In a Bossa Nova beat, they meandered from melancholy to lyrical with rapturous and rare combinations.
What Is This Thing Called Love? was superb, and when Dorado sang and Ludovic improvised on Scat vocals, the Reinhardt fans were thrilled. Hungarian Czardas on violin released energy and ethnicity, and the final piece brought all eight musicians together with unbridled joy. I look forward to the November 2004 Birdland, Django Reinhardt Festival, again produced by Stratta Philips Productions.
Spirit of Django Reinhardt at Tully Hall
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower