Dorado Schmitt Quintette: Claire de Lune

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swing / neo-swing
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Francuski gitarzysta i skrzypek od lat kultywuje tradycję stylu wykreowanego w okresie międzywojennym przez legendarny duet: Django Reinhardta i Stephane'a Grappelliego. Ten styl, będący wspaniałym miksem muzyki cygańskiej i jazzowej, kultywował słynny Hot Club de France.

Idea Reinhardta to przede wszystkim melodyjne improwizacje skrzypiec lub gitary na intensywnie swingującym podkładzie akustycznych gitar i kontrabasu, lecz bez wsparcia perkusji. Dzięki temu, tak powstałą tkankę muzyczną charakteryzuje niezwykła elastyczność i naturalność, to taki bardzo "ekologiczny" jazz.

Schmidt, mający też cygańskie korzenie, miał zaszczyt współpracować z potomkami Reinhardta, co z pewnością pozwoliło mu pełniej złapać klimat tego typu grania. Album "Clair de Lune" jest doskonałym przykładem takiego muzykowania. Nagrano go na żywo w duńskim klubie rok temu.

Oprócz Schmitta na scenie znalazł się syn Amati (gitara), Gino Roman (kontrabas), Franco Mehrstein (gitara), Esben M. Strandvig (gitara) i Kristian Jorgensen (skrzypce). Ten skład, działający jak przysłowiowy szwajcarski zegarek, zapewnił niezwykle zwarte brzmienie. Nie będąc nawet fanem takiego grania, trudno uciec od witalnej energii emanującej ze sceny.
autor: Cezary Gumiński

Editor's info:
In the months leading up to his passing in 1953, the ground-breaking Roma and jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt feared that he would soon be forgotten and end up as an overlooked footnote in music history. Of course, the swinging “jazz manouche” lives and breathes forever through the music he developed and created. Today, no one has done more to keep the tradition alive and relevant than the dazzling Dorado Schmitt. Considered a godfather-like figure on the international gypsy-jazz scene, he continues to represent the art form at the highest level, often headlining festivals such as the “Django Festival” at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

The Jazz legend was born in St-Avold, Lorraine, in 1957. He grew up with traditional Roma music and started performing at the age of seven. He plays violin and guitar with equal enthusiasm, and is among the most notable heirs to the music of Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli, and Le Quintette de Hot Club du France, both as a composer and instrumentalist. The torch has already been passed on to Dorado’s son, Amati, in accordance with tradition. With a crushing calm and self-confidence, Amati continues the traditionbound music on a virtuosic level. As father and son, the violently swinging rhythm section from France has no equal.

After the acclaimed Stunt releases AMATI & DORADO SCHMITT: LIVE and SINTI DU MONDE, the group has recorded again, but not without tweaking the recipe. On the latest album, Dorado invited Danish jazz violinist Kristian Jorgensen to participate on a repertoire reflecting the tradition, with new songs by Dorado plus a number of the genre’s standards. Dorado is best in front of an audience, although in the studio his every demand can be, and is, met.

The recording took place in the Bruunske Pakhus in Fredericia, Denmark, with Jorgen Vad behind the mixing board. The acoustics, mood, and spirit of this place inspired them to record everything “straight-up,” and without “cheating” or clipping. This music deserves to be heard purely, as it exists, and as it is played for parties, weddings, and funerals, in the past and present.

Dorado Schmitt and his team are the real deal, and perhaps second only to the legend Django, himself.
Per Arnoldi created the atmospheric cover, inspired by clear moonlight, and named after the moody melody and title of the release: CLAIR DE LUNE.
Arnoldi has also contributed to the thoughtful liner-notes: THE REAL THING!
Art is communication is art.
A narration, the telling of a story, the delivery of a message, the conveying of an experience, passed on from sender to recipient. The way in which the story is told must be carefully articulated, revised, and perfected.
Excuses and obstacles neither enchant nor persuade, and while virtuosity can dazzle from afar, it’s often the most heartfelt and straightforward communication - as found in these tracks - that penetrates deeper.
Art is never simply captured artistry. Great art unites past, present, and future, as one can hear on this festive recording of Dorado Schmitt’s Quintet featuring Kristian Jorgensen. Grace, tragedy, loneliness, and love flow from the music, overcoming and acknowledging a rugged and dramatic past with the pain and sorrow of mid-European history.

The story of the Sinti has its own sound, and their drama becomes our drama, their infectious musical zest for life, ours, too. But the music on this recording largely lives in the festive, bountiful pre- sent, where generous melodiousness rains down upon us, here and now. And if this glorious life-affirming energy does not remind us that artistic statements are our only hope to carry us through chaos into the future, I’ve heard wrong.

Space travel and material technological advances are celebrated accomplishments by modern society, but the gentle glow that Clair de Lune throws over Dorado’s brave group of narrators is much more human. It’s a Mensch and his band of story tellers who remind us of what is most important.
Per Arnoldi
From the line up, and the fact that two of the pieces of Django Reinhardt tunes (‘Troublant bolero’, track 9, and ‘Tears’, track 10), you might have a reasonable sense of what you’re in for on this set. Schmitt, born in Lorraine and steeped in Roma music, plays violin and guitar with equal facility and, joined by his son, has been not only celebrating Reinhardt’s music but also reinterpreting it in a style that feels both contemporary and historically accurate. The versions of ‘Only you’ (track 3) and ‘Swing for Wadi’ (track 8) could have come directly from Le Quintette de Hot Club du France.

Interestingly, on the former the violin is played by Jorgensen (with more than a nod to Grappelli) and on the latter by Schmitt (who swings in a folksier manner). On the other hand, the group canter through ‘Them there eyes’ (track 5) at a breathtaking speed that Jorgensen tries to rein in a little in his violin solo but which ends with a shouted ‘hoy’ and loud applause.

That this is a live recording is apparent from the audience interaction, but the quality of the playing is so high that it is easy to forget that this not a studio set. I felt envious of the audience who got to watch such fantastic maestros at work. For its sheer élan and wonderful capturing of the spirit of Reinhardt, this deserves to be an album of the year and a welcome present for anyone who loves jazz.
by Chris Baber

Dorado Schmitt: violin, guitar
Amati Schmitt: guitar
Franco Mehrstein: rhythm guitar
Esben Mylle Strandvig: rhythm guitar
Kristian Jorgensen: violin

1. Made In Italy (Amati Schmitt)
2. Night And Day (Cole Porter)
3. Only You (Buck Ram)
4. Clair De Lune (Joseph Kosma)
5. Them There Eyes (Maceo Pinkard, Doris Tauber)
6. Danube (Ion Ivanovic)
7. September Song (Kurt Weil)
8. Swing For Wadi (Amati Schmitt)
9. Troublant Bolero (Django Reinhardt)
10. Tears (Django Reinhardt)
11. Shine (Brown Dabney)

wydano: 2019-03-15
nagrano: Recorded 18th and 19th February 2018 by Jorgen Vad at the Bruunske Pakhus, Frederica, Denmark

more info:



Stunt Records (DK)
Dorado Schmitt Quintette
Claire de Lune
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