Swing Gitan is a gypsy jazz ensemble based in Chicago. The group plays 1930s style music of Django Reinhardt on acoustic instruments. Alfonso Ponticelli is the lead guitarist, Tony Ballog (died in 2013) is the violinist, Jason Miller is the rhythm guitarist, and Beau Sample is the bass player. Here they are playing “All of Me,” “Avalon,” and “That’s A Plenty” at Midwest Gypsy Swing Fest in 2009. I hope you enjoy this.
Birelli Lagrene (1966 –
Birelli Lagrene is a French guitarist and bassist. He first became famous in the 1980s for his Django Reinhardt influenced style of guitar playing. Birelli is also known for playing fusion jazz and post bebop style jazz on the guitar.
Florin Niculescu (1967 –
Florin Niculescu is a Romanian gypsy violinist. He is one of the top jazz violinists and is comfortable playing gypsy jazz as well as modern jazz. Some people have called him the successor to the great French jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli.
In 2001 Niculescu joined Birelli Lagrene and his “Gypsy Project” which takes its inspiration from Django Reinhardt and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France.
Here is a recording of several jazz standards played by Birelli Lagrene and his “Gypsy Project” in 2001. The musicians are Birelli Lagrene (solo guitar), Florin Niculescu (violin), Rhythm guitars – Hono Winterstein and Holzmano Lagrène, Diego Imbert (double bass), and Richard Galliano (accordion). I hope you enjoy it.
Troublant Bolero is a tune by Django Reinhardt. He first recorded the tune in 1948.
Here is a recording of Troublant Bolero palyed by the Romani “gypsy jazz” guitarist Angelo Debarre, and “gypsy jazz” accordion virtuoso Ludovic Beier.
“Gypsy jazz” is a style of jazz that is believed to be invented by the Romani guitarist Django Reinhardt in the 1930s. It combines dark, chromatic gypsy sounds with swing.
The Quintet of the Hot Club of France
The Quintet of the Hot Club of France was a string jazz group made up of three guitars, a violin, and a bass. It was originally formed in 1934 after a series of informal backstage jam sessions. The quintet was a unique jazz group because it was made up of an interesting combination of instruments and it invented a style of jazz known as “gypsy jazz” or “hot jazz.” Over the years the quintet went through many different rhythm guitarists and bass players but the two main players (Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli) remained the same. From 1934 until the beginning of the war in 1939 the quintet made hundreds of recordings and toured Europe many times. The quintet was disbanded in 1939. In 1946 Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt teamed up together again and formed another quintet. This post-war quintet lasted from 1946 until 1948.
Here is a recording of the jazz standard “After You’ve Gone” performed by the Quintet of the Hot Club of France. The singer in the recording is Freddy Taylor.
Minor Swing is a popular “gypsy jazz” tune by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. It was first recorded by Grappelli, Reinhardt, and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France in 1937.
Here is a recording of Minor Swing by Ludovic Beier (a “gypsy jazz” accordion virtuoso), and Angelo Debarre (a Romani “gypsy jazz” guitarist). Enjoy!