Saturday, August 23, 2008

Midwest Gypsy Swing Festival

From Gypsy Fest 2008

It started Friday at 7 PM in the barn.
Gonzalo Bergara (LA) with Kevin Nolan (Seattle) and John on the bass. John is the local boy from Madison, (we play in the same poker game). This three just met and played for the first time together.

Second act was Chicago Gypsy Rhythm Project with their mixture of Romanian folk and jazz. Closing act was always impressive Hot Club Of Detroit. Night continued around the camp fire with the jam session till 2 AM.

Saturday the show started at 2PM. When I arrived the outdoor activities were going on. First performances in the barn was Harmonious Wail with the guest from Chicago, guitarist Alphonso Ponticelli. Here they are with Russian Gypsy song "Dark Eyes".

Next act, Twin Cities Hot Club had a solid performance with a few classic Django's tunes.

Here I am chating with Gonzalo and Kevin.

Gonzalo was born in Argentina, so I thought he started with classical Spanish guitar, but he told me he started to play guitar when he was 13 years old and his favorites were Muddy Waters, Jimmy Rogers and other blues masters. Kevin has interesting "road history". He's an Irish lad, born in Hong Kong, than moved to Tokyo, London, Amsterdam, and now he lives and plays in Seattle and LA. In London and Amsterdam he played with his brother Robin Nolan, and now he's a member of John Jorgenson Quintet.
In the tent Gonzalo joined the Hot Club Of Detroit for the dance party.

If not on the stage musicians were joining small groups for the jam. At this one I found together memebrs of Hot Club of Detroit, and our local Madison groups Harmonious Wail, Caravan GSE, and other friends.

Gonzalo, John and Kevin had a chance to play for the second time together.

Alfonso Ponticelli and Tony Ballog are members of the Chicago band 'Swing Gitan'. They played as a duo this year, but got some help for the closing couple tunes. Alfonso is Italian origin, and Tony is Hungarian Gypsy fifth generation here in US. He plays in the best tradition of Gypsies from the old country.

Night ended with the Hot Club Of Detroit. They were even better than the last night. Accordion player was dominating the show. They had a nice version of Jobim's "Insensatez"(one of my favorite songs).

Traditionally the show continued around the campfire. I saw many happy faces, new friendships, and satisfied jazz lovers. I can't wait for the next chance to see all this guys again.
Hope you'll be there too.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Gypsy Swing

Next weekend I'll be at the Fifth-annual Gypsy Swing Festival in the Madison-area Art barn. The patron saint of Gypsy Jazz is its inventor, Django Reinhardt (1910-1953), a gypsy guitarist born in Belgium who grew up in Paris playing the "musette" style of the day before he discovered American jazz through a Louis Armstrong record. Reinhardt joined forces in the 1930s with French jazz violinist extraordinaire Stephane Grappelli with the "Quintette of the Hot Club of France," creating a popular new style in the process. Today this style is still popular in Europe, and the most known are The Rosenberg Trio, and my favorite Jimmy Rosenberg.

We are lucky here in Madison, WI to have this Gypsy Swing Festival. You can find more celebration of Django's music at
Every year at the Birdland in New York there is Django Festival CD on the left was recorded 2000 and on the most tracks you can find Jimmy Rosenberg.
Click here for more clips from past years DjangoBirdlandFest

If you plan to spend next summer in France you must find time in June to attend that is going on since 1968 in Samois Sur Siene. Here is 20 minutes video from 2006 festival.

Django Reinhardt Festival Samois 2007
Django Reinhardt Festival Samois 2008
Gypsy Jazz Guitars
Gypsy Swing Teachers
Gypsy Swing Artists around the world
Hot Club Internet Radio
Gypsy Jazz Encyclopedia Encyclopedia
How to play Django style
Listen to Gypsy Swing samples, buy MP3 or order CD.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My Biggest Love

My biggest love are my two kids Katarina (18) and Aleksandar (7)

From Katarina

Day 1

Here we go. I'm starting this blog with an idea to write about things I love(like). I want to put together the list of my favorite people, books, music, cities, events ....

I decided to sign my blog with Tin Cup. You know the movie "Tin Cup" with Kevin Costner. The movie is romantic-golf comedy with swings and kisses. I like it. If you didn't see it run to Blockbusters and rent it. The main character is a good golfer and he can make amazing shots like the famous “pelican shot”.

I don’t play golf but I saw something in the final scene of the movie that reminds me on the way I go trough the life. It’s all about taking chances. Easy way is sometimes too easy and boring. ‘Tin Cup’ style is fun. Look how much the crowd loves Roy when after 12 attempts he makes the shot.

Belgrade, my home town, I left September 7, 1986.