THE Sanderson Center February 4 2013
It wasn't exactly springtime in Paris on Monday evening, but the sounds in the Sanderson Centre lobby had a very large crowd dreaming of a pleasant stroll by the Seine and an aperitif in a vibrant sidewalk cafe.
The Club Django Sextet from Toronto brought their vital and energetic recreation of the gypsy swing music of the Quintet of the Hot Club of France from the 1930s to Brantford Downtown Jazz, and clearly lots of Brantfordians were willing to brave February's chill to hear the happy sound. The audience was just about full of bobbing heads and smiling faces.
There were bobbing heads and smiling faces in the band, too, especially among half of the six players. Tony Oldland is the senior of the two rhythm guitarists who provide the chordal background often heard on the piano along with the rhythmic underpinning usually provided by a drum set. He is an old hand at this, and was obviously thoroughly enjoying the evening, looking around at his fellow players and the audience while strumming with relaxed confidence.
The other, more subdued rhythm guitarist was David Dunlap, sitting in for the founder of Club Django and the only member to have seen Django Reinhardt perform, Andre Seguinot. Rounding out the rhythm section was the irrepressible Abbey Scholzberg on string bass and giving the commentary between songs. Scholzberg is always a welcome delight, and his few solos were filled more with his energy and wit that any fancy pyrotechnics on the bass.
Scholzberg and Oldland were having a good time, and shared many looks and laughs as they played. The third member of this trio of fun-loving musicians was the outstanding violinist Rodion Boshoer. Boshoer plays aggressively, exploiting the full range of his fiddle including some exceedingly high pitches and the full range of rhythmic possibilities in his melodic solos. He and his extrovert personality were exciting to watch.
John Farrell was a less extroverted musical match for Boshoer, playing lead guitar and thus the role of Reinhardt to Boshoer's Grappelli. He has more of Reinhardt's attack and drive in his playing, and gets a lovely mellow tone in the lower register. His solos were more interesting for surprising choices of harmony and for rhythmic variety, but he doesn't have the charisma of his violinist.
The accordion of Gerry Duligal was added to the original orchestration of Reinhardt's group, and it provides a bit of French melancholy here and there. But Duligal's solos added tonal colour and a few swirls to the mix and not much more.
And what did we hear? Several by Reinhardt, like the inevitable but always pleasing Nuages, and also Daphne, Minor Swing and Valse des Niglos. And then good covers of standards the original quintet would have played or more modern songs which sounded very good in this context. After all, when Club Django subjects a song to its fire and energy it always will be interesting and apparently always will draw a good crowd to the ongoing Brantford Downtown Jazz series of concerts.
Murray Charters is a musician, teacher and writer. His "Murray's Music" column can be found in Saturday's Expositor.
THE REX DECEMBER 2008
"When my friend mentioned that there was some Gypsy Jazz musicians playing at the Rex on Sunday afternoon, I knew exactly where I would be that day. I admit to being a big fan of Django Reinhardt, so listening to Club Django play was a wonderful treat that left me completely satisfied. These guys were great! A real Django chanelling kind of experience. And a heck of a tribute to a legendary artist. What a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon! Their sound was pure Django, fabulous Gypsy Swing, an exotic and passionate music that can never die: it's just too much fun! We even spent a delightful moment hearing some of the band's and Django's history right from the founder André Séguinot. I left The Rex, my heart singing, a joyful song, toe-tapping my way home. Happy as can be with "La Gitane's"(The Club Django Sextet of Toronto) album in hand.
That night we played their most excellent CD and loved the whole thing. Polished, professional, perfect. I happily and heartily recommend it and them!
Check out Club Django Sextet for all their musical information. A big loving Thank You for an unforgettalby fabulous night of Gypsy Swing.
(Snap Magazine, Downtown Toronto, December 2008)
M&T Jazz Fest at OCC, Syracuse June 25 2005
"Club Django Sextet of Toronto got the fans bouncing with a combination of gypsy and swing jazz that sounded like front porch music - if your friends and neighbors who come over for a jam session are really great musicians. The founder of the band, Andre "Papy" Seguinot, demonstrated his love for the music of two of his heroes, Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt. In fact, the band listens to those two's records so much, they titled one of their one original songs "Exact Copy" (sic ...??).
With Seguinot on rhythm guitar, Abbey Sholzberg on double bass, Rodion Boshoer on violin, Gerry Duligal on accordion, John Farrel on lead guitar and Tony Oldland on rhythm guitar, the Canadians folk music makers (sic...!) obvioulsly had a ball, swinging with "Minor Swing", waltzing with "I'm Confessin' " (sic ...!) and revving everybody with "Dark Eyes" which they described as the Gypsy National Anthem.
(Mark Bialczak, The Post-Standard, June 26 2005)
Ottawa International Jazz Festival
Club Django opened for the John Pizzarelli's Trio
"The evening began with a generous , enjoyable set from the Club Django Sextet, a Toronto group that grew out of weekly jam sessions devoted to the timeless music of gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli. By adding an accordion to the classic Reinhardt/Grappelli quintet of three guitars, violin and bass, Club Django provided a warm, round feeling to its faithful rendition of the tangos, waltzes and straight-ahead swing tunes first made famous by its heroes in Paris of the 1930's."
(Doug Fisher, Ottawa Citizen, Sunday July 21, 2002)
Greenbank Folk Music Society
"It's a pleasure to submit this letter of thanks to the entire Club Django Sextet. As presenters, we look for talented musicians performing material with high audience appeal and we hope for an appreciative audience. It all came together at the October 20th concert, making it an evening to remember. All of you delivered great performances prompting several of our regular tickets buyers to class the evening as one of the best we've had, This is no small praise when considering some of the remarkable talent that has graced our stage in nine years of business."
(René Demers, Greenbank Folk Music Society, November 2001)
Markham Jazz Festival
"On behalf of the Markham Jazz Festival, may we express our sincere thanks to your band for performing at this year's event. We were most impressed by the audience reaction and felt honoured that we were able to hear some outstanding compositions, ensemble and solo work. What a thrill it was to hear comments from the audience such as "Wow, what a line-up", "How did you manage to book this band?", "Who wrote the incredible arrangements?", "What an all-star band that was", and on and on: well you get the picture."
(Hal Hill, Director/Associate Producer, Markham Jazz Festival, September 2001)
Club Django Grabs Award
"Club Django, the Toronto Sextet that specializes in the music of gypsy guitar legend Django Reinhardt, has won the Canadian Collector's Congress annual award for best trad or classic jazz performance.
The win over the four others finalists, which were the Climax, Ragweed and CanUs Jazz Bands, and the Hot Five Jazzmakers, was announced last night at the 30th annual convention of the congress, whose members explore the pre-swing era of jazz."
(Geoff Chapman, Music Critic, The Toronto Star, Sunday, April 29, 2001)
Club Django - A Turn to a Special Genre
"This relatively new group of Toronto musicians has come together to invoke the essence of a well-nigh forgotten European sub-genre of 30's swing , made popular in its day by the brilliance of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. The Club Django Sextet of Toronto have done a fine job in capturing the energy of the elementary vibe of this music, and have come very close to a true feeling of authenticity. Buy this record and file it in your collection under "Gypsy Swing". You may not have a Gypsy Swing section in your CD collection, but you should."
(Stephen Lukacic, CD review, To-Nite, music, nightlife & leisure guide, January 10, 2001)
Music of 1930s Paris Gets a A Strong Workout
"Instead of forking out thousands to fly to Europe in search of winter chic, you could have saved a buck or two by browsing midtown's Cumberland Street on Saturday. You would have been drawn to the venerable Pilot, where the music of 1930s Paris was getting an industrial-strength workout from a Toronto band bent on replicating the sound of the Hot Club de France, which became the European band of its time, featuring the immeasurable talents of guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli. Many a band ploughs this noble furrow, but the Club Django Sextet certainly gets into the spirit of music now known generally as gypsy swing. The group, warmly received by a crowd more familiar with smaller assemblies playing bop and modern modal mainstream, achieved lift-of early with "All Of Me", Honeysuckle Rose" and "It Don't Mean A Thing" and a host of tunes penned by the master ("Daphne", "Douce Ambiance", Minor Swing", with its slick chorus swaps, "Swing Guitar", "Stompin' at Decca". They turned in a lively show that took the chill out of a cold afternoon."
(Geoff Chapman, Music Critic, The Toronto Star, Monday December 11, 2000)
Club Django Swings into Annex, and Stays
"Although gypsy swing is popular in Europe, recordings here are difficult to find and it's not widely known outside jazz audiences. But for the past five years, the unmistakable sound of Django and the Hot Club de France has been kept alive by faithful players in the heat of the Annex. At first, Club Django was a seminar-cum-jam session, with musicians and enthusiasts dropping by the Tranzac Club (the Aussie/Kiwi social spot at Bloor and Brunswick) to play and learn about the music. Club Django (the band) began to take shape, narrowing down to its current line-up, a sextet. Last June, Club Django released a CD: "A Tribute to the Hot Club de France". Despite the CD release and regular gigs, the group maintains a modest, for-the-love-of-it attitude. The members define themselves as 'a group of friends playing the music they like and having fun'. "
(Malcom Davidson, Annex Gleaner, September 2000)