Dorado Schmitt


In the months leading up to his death in 1953, pioneering Gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt lamented that he might be overlooked by history. But today the ebulliently swinging “jazz manouche” sound he created with French violinist Stéphane Grappelli is more pervasive than ever. And no one has done more to ignite interest in the idiom than dazzling French guitarist and violinist Dorado Schmitt. For over ten years he’s been the star attraction of the annual Djangofest event at New York’s Birdland, accompanied by a cast of fiercely swinging compatriots. Born to Gypsy parents near the German border in Lorraine, Schmitt was weaned on traditional Roma music and Gypsy jazz, but rebelled as a teenager by taking up electric guitar and emulating Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana. After a decade of leading his own trio, he was nearly killed in a car crash, and spent years in physical therapy to regain his unrivaled guitar prowess. By the mid-90s he was a leading figure on the international Gypsy jazz scene, where he continues to represent the art form at its highest level. These days, it’s not possible to hear Django and Stéphane in concert, but Dorado Schmitt and his All-Stars are clearly the next best thing!

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