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Enjoy gypsy jazz at ‘Django Would Go!’

By Staff | Jun 2, 2011

Jazz violinist Jason Anick will perform and lead a “Gypsy Jazz Violin Workshop.”

KAHULUI — “Django Would Go!” — a celebration of Gypsy jazz featuring a concert and workshops with The John Jorgenson Quintet and Hawaii’s own Hot Club of Hulaville — will be held Sunday, June 5, at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.

Presented by the 2011 Maui Invitational Music Festival and Hulaville Events, the concert will start at 6 p.m. in the McCoy Studio Theater.

Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 the day of the show; discounts are available for MACC and Hawaii Public Radio members. Call the MACC Box Office at 242-7469 or visit www.mauiarts.org.

Jean “Django” Reinhardt (1910-53) was a pioneering virtuoso jazz guitarist and composer. Born into a family of gypsies, he invented a new style of jazz guitar technique known as Gypsy jazz (sometimes called hot jazz guitar).

In 1934, Reinhardt and Parisian violinist Stéphane Grapelli formed the Quintette du Hot club de France, a famous jazz ensemble composed of stringed instruments only. During his career, Reinhardt also performed with American jazz greats Coleman Hawkins, Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie.

His legacy plays a large role in Woody Allen’s 1999 movie “Sweet and Lowdown.” In the movie “Head in the Clouds,” Reinhardt is portrayed by John Jorgenson.

Jorgenson, a Grammy Award-winning guitarist, first came to national attention in the mid-1980s as cofounder of The Desert Rose Band, a successful country-rock act.

Sir Elton John became a fan of the band and invited Jorgenson to join him in 1994 for an 18-month tour that stretched into a six-year stint of touring, recording and television appearances with the British superstar.

An internationally known guitarist, arranger and music director, Jorgenson discovered Django in 1979 and has since become the “U.S. Ambassador of Gypsy Jazz.”

The John Jorgenson Quintet is the only American act to ever headline the prestigious Django Reinhardt Memorial Festival in France. The Quintet includes Dutch bassist Simon Planting, jazz violinist Jason Anick, rhythm guitarist Doug Martin and percussionist Rick Reed. Each is a virtuoso, yet their music is accessible, melodic and appealing.

Also appearing is the popular Hot Club of Hulaville, featuring Duane Padilla on violin, Emmet Mahoney on guitar, Ricardo Diaz on contrabass, Sonny Silva on guitar and chanteuse Ginai.

Hot Club performs their own special blend of 1930s-style jazz, swing and gypsy music with a Hawaiian touch.

Workshops and master classes for guitar, violin and bass conducted by John Jorgenson and the artists begin Sunday, June 5, at 3 p.m. at the MACC.

Jorgenson’s session, “Introduction to Gypsy Jazz Guitar,” is geared toward the player who is just starting to learn Gypsy jazz and swing guitar. The session will cover both rhythm and lead techniques.

In the “Gypsy Jazz Violin Workshop,” Anick will teach a few tunes and display various licks and concepts to help improvisation and different stylistic approaches, such as vibrato and bowing, to help players get that authentic Gypsy jazz sound.

Planting said his bass workshop is for all levels of players and teaches “how to work your way through crazy Django rhythms in various styles and tempos, along with driving the band, keeping your cool and building excitement as part of the rhythm section.”

“We are thrilled that musicians of this caliber are coming to Maui and offering workshops and the opportunity to jam live with them and then attend their concert,” said Bryant Neal, executive director of Arts Education for Children Group, the nonprofit that presents the Maui Invitational Music Festival.

“We are offering scholarships for the workshops. Anyone interested should call me at 283-3576.”

The requested fee is $20 per person. To register, go to hotclubofhulaville.com/Workshop. The “Django Would Go!” workshops and classes are sponsored by Mana’o Radio.

Artists and students will play in a free “Gypsy Djam Session” on Sunday, June 5, at 4 p.m. in the Haynes Meeting Room at the MACC. The public is invited to attend and enjoy the music.

For more information and a complete 2011 Maui Invitational Music Festival schedule, call (808) 283-3576 or visit www.aecg.org.