Thursday, October 21, 2010

DjanGo!! - 100 Years Django Reinhardt: A Tribute 2010.

DjanGo! - 100 Years Django Reinhardt: A Tribute 2010 (English) DjanGo!! - 1910-2010: 100 jaar Django Reinhardt - Een eerbetoon ( Nederlands)

Koen De Cauter, Fapy Lafertin & Group
DjanGo! - 100 Years Django Reinhardt: A Tribute 2010
Jørgen Larsen

This year the musicworld commemorates the Centennial of Django Reinhardt's birth and there has already been numerous events, concerts and cd releases to celebrate the musical genius of this unique artist. It seems that there are two main tendencies in celebrating Django during the present interest, one that celebrates his legacy through contemporary string swing ensembles paying tribute to his music by imitating the formula of the famous and successful Quintet of Hot Club of France. The other tendency, though, has set focus on the inspiration Django's music awakes on the contemporary musicscene where jazz in particular and the musical landscapes in general have evolved dramatically since Django's untimely death in 1953.
However, there also seems to be a third stream that combines the two mentioned tendencies by musicians incorporating both a Hot Club approach and a sensitive recreation of Django's own compositions and inspiration in a new context with both due respect to tradition and a personal concept of the musical material. An example of this is the new cd shown below.

The cd is a result of a project, properly named DjanGo!, initiated by the Belgian De Cauter family group of musicians who has been deeply involved in preserving, performing and renewing the music of Django Reinhardt for many years. Head of the family, Koen De Cauter, started in 1975 the famous Waso Quartet (named after his first born son) which resulted in a true revival of the Hot Club music.

The family ensemble was created in 1990 and after a while became the core of its activities involving Koen and his offsprings Waso, Vigdis, Dajo and Myrddin. In a MySpace profile of the DjanGo! project is stated the background idea and aim of this family project, quote: " In 2003 Waso De Cauter started a tribute project to honour the genius of Django. The idea behind the project was not so much to copy nor cover the playing and music by this guitar master but to give a personal interpretation of the genre. DjanGo! is not a band but a project with the aim to remain a constantly evolving and innovative group of musicians, always broadening the repertoire and exploring new possibilities within the language – as did Django himself." - The project has also involved other musicians outside the family, in 2003 was a double quartet exploring Django’s beginning in musette with French guitarist Patrick Saussois and accordionist Daniel Colin and Django’s creation of his own language with Koen De Cauter on clarinet and Fapy Lafertin on guitar. The rhythm was provided by two sons of Koen; Waso De Cauter on guitar and Dajo De Cauter on double bass. - In 2004 the project slightly changed by replacing Daniel Colin by violinist Tcha Limberger. The focus being the golden ‘Hot Club de France’ years of Django. That formation recorded a live concert which also featured the tenor sax player Joop Ayal. - In 2005 the project wanted to emphasise on Django’s often underestimated ‘electric period’, electric-acoustic guitar and – often two - clarinet(s) replacing the violin was now the formula, which resulted in clarinetist Myrddin De Cauter replacing Tcha Limberger. - In 2007 drummer Lionel Beuvens, guitarplayer Bart Vervaeck and American cornet player Jon Birdsong joined the group and the repertoire of the project now broadened its interpretations from the early to the late Django. This is the same group participating on the new cd, and - as stated in the MySpace profile - "(...) the adventure and search for beauty and 'joie de vivre' are the greatest concerns. - In the end, the most important thing of all is the musical instincts of the artists, making the music’s emotions the key element and take the audience on a journey through the musical landscape of Django Reinhardt… always in search of beauty."

Listening to the tracks on the cd is an impressive experience, the music of Django is relived in a contemporary context involving an instrumentation not usually expected by the average fan of this music. The including of soprano sax (Koen De Cauter), clarinet (Myrddin De Cauter) and cornet (Jon Birdsong) together with lead guitar virtuoso Fapy Lafertin and a rhythm section featuring Waso De Cauter and Bart Vervaeck on rhythm guitar, Dajo De Cauter on double bass and Lionel Beuvens or Frederik Van den Berghe on drums make the sound of the group different in comparison with the usual Hot Club style interpretation of Django's music. The repertoire of the disc is also outside the genuine Hot Club standard book, the focus here is on Django's own compositions and a few examples of music by other artists who inspired Django during his career. There are eight of Django's own compositions presented, six ranging from the QHCF period ('Mabel', 'Bolero', 'Minor Swing', 'Nuages', 'Djangologi' and 'Place de Brouckère' ) and two from the post-war, late period of his life: 'Speevey' and 'Anouman'. These tracks are carefully given a personal interpretation by the featured musicians and this approach is also in focus on the remaining tracks covering compositions by Georges Brassens ('Le vieux Leon' - here performed as a very beautiful guitar duet), Claude Debussy ('Rêverie') and Edvard Grieg ('Solveig's Song') from the classical field, Artie Shaw (' Moonray') and Bernie Miller ('Bernie's Tune') - the last a be bop standard. To round up this picture of Django's music and its inspiration sources is also added a composition by Fapy Lafertin, 'Plachterida' - a very beautiful tune in waltz tempo, and finally a poem by Koen De Cauter in French, 'Réflexion', recited with musical accompaniment by members of the group. In all, the music performed on the disc gives a very exciting interpretation of the music connected with the not so well known facets of Django Reinhardt's legacy, highly recommended as a supplement to the more common standard repertoire played by numerous Gypsy Swing and Hot Club ensembles.

To give you an impression of the music presented by the DjanGo! group, here is a video from a live performance earlier this year -

The cd was recorded March-April this year in Bruges, Belgium, at De WERF and is a co-production by Spocus Records, the cd was released July 2010 and is available at DE WERF's online cd-shop.


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