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Django Festival Allstars to Play Carnegie Hall

Gypsy-jazz event in May will feature guest spots by Melody Gardot and Ken Peplowski

The Django Festival Allstars, with Dorado Schmitt at center
The Django Festival Allstars, with Dorado Schmitt at center

The spirit of a certain celebrated Gypsy guitarist may have reason to be drifting around New York’s Carnegie Hall on May 1, when the Django Festival Allstars take the Perelman Stage for a concert, “Forever Django: Passing the Family Torch,” in support of their upcoming album, Attitude Manouche. The concert is being presented by Pat Philips-Stratta, the actor Leonardo DiCaprio and his father, the writer and performance artist George DiCaprio.

Led by the father-sons guitar team of Dorado, Samson and Amati Schmitt, and specializing in the Gypsy-jazz style popularized in the 1930s by Django Reinhardt, the Allstars will welcome two special guests for this performance: clarinetist Ken Peplowski and singer Melody Gardot. The program will feature both original compositions and material closely associated with Reinhardt.

For 19 years running, the Django Festival has been a regular event at Midtown Manhattan’s Birdland club. Last year, its Allstars went on a 16-date North American tour that preceded the festival. The Allstars have in years past made room for artists such as vocalist Jazzmeia Horn, clarinetist Anat Cohen and Django’s guitar-playing grandson David. The lineup for the Carnegie show will also include accordionist Ludovic Beier, violinist Pierre Blanchard, rhythm guitarists DouDou Cuillerier and Francko Mehrstein, and bassists Antonio Licusati and Gino Roman.

Visit the Carnegie Hall website for tickets and more information.

Read a JazzTimes review of a live album that documents an early New York Django Festival.

Originally Published