For Air France’s Django Reinhardt NY Festival at Birdland, authenticity is the name of the game. The 14th annual festival brings back Manouche gypsy guitar legend Dorado Schmitt and a host of players well-versed in the genre, including rhythm guitarist Francko Mehrstein straight from France.
Schmitt bears an uncanny resemblance to Django Reinhardt. He plays very nearly like the man who invented gypsy jazz in 1934’s Hot Club of France. Back in 2002, Schmitt arrived in the U.S. as a regular, star attraction at Birdland and all the cool festivals. Originally from France’s Strasbourg region, Schmitt also brings with him two talented sons in the gypsy jazz vein, Amati and Bronson.
Host and bassist Brian Torff will introduce the Django Festival All-Stars and their special guests onstage to perform originals and inventive covers: November 5-6, French jazz vocalist and 2010 winner of the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, Cyrille Aimee does the honors with the band, November 7, it’s U.S. vocalist Freddy Cole for a special Django “Nuage,” lyrics provided by Tony Bennett, November 8-9, young Colombian jazz harpist Edmar Castañeda, and November 10, saxophonist James Carter sit in.
The Django Festival All-Stars also celebrate their new album from Three’s A Crowd Records. Released last year, it’s already made the rounds all over the U.S. and impressed critics.
Check into New York City’s Birdland, 315 W. 44th St. in midtown Manhattan. Info: (212) 581-3080.