Midwinter Midwest Gypsy Swing Fest
Harmonious Wail presents;
The 2015 Midwinter Midwest Gypsy Swing Fest
Don Stiernberg Trio
On Friday February 13;
7pm -- Harmonious Wail (w/ Jason Miller on guitar) will get the festival under way.
Smoldering vocals laced among the jazzy mandolin and guitar; an infectious blend of continental jazz, swing, gypsy music and melodic vocals how DOES one describe the sound of Harmonious Wail? The Wail has caught numerous listeners by total surprise during its more than 20-year history. Of all the venues and stages that these 'NPR regulars' have graced, it's the PAC's, festivals and showcase clubs that bring the most enthusiastic audience response!
8:15 pm Milwaukee's Swing Chevron;
Having fallen in love at a young age with the unmistakable, impassioned jazz violin playing of Stephane Grappell, Allen Russell founded the group as a means by which to perform his own original tunes and arrangements in the same violin-centric style. Relying heavily upon lyrical French melodies, driving gypsy rhythms,and improvisational flights of the imagination, Swing Chevron brings the sizzling vintage swing music you crave!
9:30 pm Don Stiernberg Trio
[Stiernberg] is the foremost jazz mandolinist in America today," says Mike Marshall, perhaps the most traveled of all reigning mandolin royalty, stylistically if not geographically. "He's dedicated himself to the Jethro tradition but even beyond that, taking it as a very serious jazz instrument. His feel, just having Chicago in his blood, is so deep.
While still in his teens, Don Stiernberg learned to play the mandolin from the innovative and influential virtuoso Jethro Burns. Jethro referred to Don as his "graduate student", hired him to play in his band, and guided him to a career as a professional musician which has already lasted forty years.
"If the cliche "musician's musician" means anything of value, it means an artist with superb instrumental skills who subjugate their innate virtuosity to create sublime, sophisticated music.
These rare individuals possess a unique knack for always supporting a melody or enhancing an arrangement instead of flaunting their well-oiled chops. And if that definition holds true, then Don Stiernberg can only be called a musician's musician's musician. Admired by every great mandolinist of his generation and the true protege of the legendary Jethro Burns, Stiernberg has crafted a lifelong legacy of inserting the well-turned phrase, the dramatic pause, a hummingbird-like tremolo or the unexpected "outside" note into solos that delight the casual listener and amaze mandolinists of every caliber." -- David McCarty
Saturday February 14;
7pm - Fumée Gypsy Project
Fumée Gypsy Project's new release, Reverie, blends traditional European jazz with a unique Chicago twist. Comprised of four incredibly versatile musicians, the band demonstrates their love of straight ahead jazz through a variety of French,American and German standard repertoire.
8:15pm - Alfonso Ponticelli & Swing Gian
Alfonso Ponticelli and Swing Gitan is Chicago's premier gypsy-jazz band.
The group plays the 1930s-style music of guitarist Django Reinhardt -- foot-tappin' swing played on acoustic instruments. It's a blend of the jubilant swing of early jazz with the feisty passion of gypsy music, plus a strong dose of guitar pyrotechnics and virtuosic improvisation.
Formed in 2001, Swing Gitan features bandleader Alfonso Ponticelli on lead guitar and a world-class lineup of musicians on violin, rhythm guitar and upright bass, with the occasional special guest. Over the years, they've played with many of the great contemporary gypsy-jazz players from around the world, including Bireli Lagrène, Stochelo Rosenberg, Moreno, Angelo DeBarre and the Robin Nolan Trio.
Around Chicago, Swing Gitan plays frequently at the Green Mill and Pops for Champagne. They've also played at the Chicago Cultural Center, the Field Museum, the Terra Museum of American Art, the Chicago Jazz Festival and the Chicago Summerdance Festival -- and they had the honor of performing at Millennium Park on its opening night.
Alfonso has studied gypsy-jazz music for more than a decade, having traveled several times to the annual Django Reinhardt festival in France. He introduced gypsy-jazz to Chicago in the 1990s, when he began teaching a weekly Django-style class at the renowned Old Town School of Folk Music, and he is often invited to teach his popular workshops at festivals around the country. A multi-instrumentalist, he won the 1994 U.S. National Mountain Dulcimer Championship and plays both banjo and guitar with the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. He's also a gypsy flamenco guitarist, having been to Cordoba, Spain, to study with the great flamenco guitarist Rafael Riqueni. At the Iridium in New York, Les Paul invited Alfonso to play as a special guest with his trio.
9:30pm - Harmonious Wail with special guest Don Stiernberg. The Wail will wrap it all up with a rousing monster Djam at the end of evening -
The Brink Lounge (View)
701 E. Washington Ave., Suite 105
Madison, WI 53703