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Nuages: Django, Le Not So Hot Klub du Denton and Willie

May 10, 2013

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Django Reinhardt,, has achieved an almost godlike status among

Django Reinhardt

Django Reinhardt

those who love jazz guitar. When he and violinist , Stephane Grappelli,, formed the Quintet of the Hot Club of France in 1934, they created a new sound in jazz: The guitar and violin served as the lead instrumental voices, propelled by two hard-swinging rhythm guitars and a bass. No drums, no piano, no saxophone — just five stringed instruments doing what became known as “hot swing” or “Gypsy jazz.” (Reinhardt was of Romani – gypsy – origin.)

Many Reinhardt compositions have become jazz standards, and the basic Gypsy jazz sound still holds great appeal.
– From NPR‘s Django’s Legacy: 21st-Century Gypsy Jazz

One of the latest contemporary musicians/composer s happens to be Texas‘s own Willie Nelson, who has included Nuages on his album “Let’s Face the Music and Dance.” Willie’s “family” supports his guitar work with brilliant subtlety and depth, and features Willie Nelson: guitar, vocals; Jim Brown: Hammond B3; Billy English: percussion, guitar; Paul English: percussion; Bobbie Nelson: piano; Micah Nelson: percussion; Mickey Raphael: harmonica; Kevin Smith: bass.

Nuages, Djajngo Reinhardt – Willie Nelson, “Let’s Face the Music and Dance” album 2013

During World War II – Occupied France
“The Germans used Paris basically as their rest-and-relaxation center, and when the soldiers came, they wanted wine and women and song. And to many of them, jazz was the popular music, and Django was the most famous jazz musician in Paris,” said Reinhardt biographer Michael Dregni. “And it was really a golden age of swing in Paris, with these gypsies living kind of this grand irony.”

In 1940, with “La Marseillaise” banned, Reinhardt wrote a new anthem that struck a chord with listeners across France. “Nuages” (“Clouds”) became Reinhardt‘s best-known composition — a bittersweet ode for occupied France. The liberation brought many American jazz musicians to Paris. One was the late John Lewis. In a 2000 NPR interview, he remembered having to drag Reinhardt away from a Dizzy Gillespie show, so the guitarist could make his own gig.

– From NPR’s Django Reinhardt: 100 Years Of Hot Jazz –

Gypsy Jazz (Swing) is all about romance, sweet syncopation and style. In Denton, our connection to this genre of Jazz is Le Not So Hot

Le Not So Hot Klub du Denton at Banter Bistro

Le Not So Hot Klub du Denton at Banter Bistro

Klub du Denton, under the leadership of local guitar musician and educator, Thad Bonduris.

Founded in 2004 by clarinetist Andy Cooper, as a “loose collective of musicians wanting to preserve, protect, and defend the right to play Django Reinhardt style music together”, it has become its own popular entity, entertaining hundreds of Dentonites ever since!
Health issues have made Andy take a leave of absence – but his chair anxiously awaits him! Core musicians of Le Not So Hot Klub du Denton now include: Thad Bonduris – guitar/vocals & ad hoc leadership; Leon Peek – guitar; Maristella Feustle – guitar; Jeffrey Barnes – woodwinds; Ginny Mac – Accordion/vocals; Carlo Canlas – violin; Jacob Appelt – double bass; Steven Prouty – drums.
Past members/occasional guests include: Andy Cooper – clarinet/piano; Bach Norwood – bass; Bonnie Norris – violin; Nick Norris – guitar; Tom Nelson, Steve Horn – mandolins; Michael Mindardi – drums; David Lee Schloss – woodwinds; Mark Menikos, Austin Smith, Dustin Ballard – violins; Carl Finch – accordion; Kimberly Ann Cooper, Kristi Kruger, Charles Wilhoite, Karen Foster – vocals; Daniel Hart – violin/vocals The band specializes in acoustically-oriented Early Jazz—namely anything Django would’ve played – and anything that is FUN music!
The central engagement, “house gig”, or “universe around which NSHK revolves” is: FIRST TUESDAY of every month, at BANTER BISTRO, 219 W. Oak Street, Denton, TX 76201 The group also plays at other Denton venues, such as Sweetwater Grill & Tavern, 115 S. Elm, and the Denton Arts & Jazz Fest – the last full weekend in April.

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