Django Reinhardt's 100 Birthday Celebration

Phenomenal Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt (pictured) was born 100 years ago, and the Dakota is celebrating his centenary with a great mini festival. It launches Sunday with some local bands (Clearwater, Parisota) patterned after Django's famed Hot Club of France and concludes with Mark O'Connor on Wednesday, sandwiched between guitar wizard and Django disciple Dorado Schmitt and an all-star outfit of fellow Djangoholics. They include violinist Pierre Blanchard (in the role of Stephane Grappelli), Schmitt's guitarist son Samson, and accordionist Marcel Loeffler—all from France—plus American bassist Brian Torff, who played for many years with Grappelli in his post-Hot Club days. Schmitt is a wonderful guitarist in his own right, and his fleet maneuvers on the frets amount to a remarkable evocation of Django's ingenuity and spirit. Schmitt has long been involved in a decade-old New York Django festival that also tours the U.S. He's at the helm of a slightly different Hot Club outfit on Live at the Kennedy Center, recorded in D.C. in 2007 and due out this month. You can almost smell a Parisian boulangerie as the band sparkles though jaunty versions of Django standards like "Nuages," Gershwin and Cole Porter tunes, and even a few sympathetic originals. C'est si bon, and so should these shows, as the Dakota transforms into Montmartre of the tundra. $25 at 7 p.m.; $20 at 9:30 p.m.
Mondays, Tuesdays. Starts: Jan. 18. Continues through Jan. 19, 2010

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