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Album Review

The Schmitt family must be on the top of any list to play acoustic hot jazz from the Django Reinhardt camp in terms of sheer numbers. Leader/composer Dorado Schmitt, Samson Schmitt, Amati Schmitt, and Bronson Schmitt are but four of the six guitarists fronting this true band of Gypsies, with a rhythm section and accordion specialist Marcel Loeffler. While a third of their repertoire stems from Reinhardt's Hot Club of France or jazz standards, the rest are originals by Dorado Schmitt or other members of this tasteful, pleasing ensemble. When you listen to the recording, it seems as though the collective whole is broken down into smaller combos, as if this large family is not so much out to overwhelm. Also, everything here is fairly concise within a shortened format, the very slow tunes like an emotionally dripping "Just a Gigolo" and Dorado Schmitt's sweet romantic ballad "Un Si Beau Jour" being the exceptions, averaging six minutes. Where "Miro Django" in its steady swing gets the guitarists fired up to play fleet solos, composer Hono Winterstein (one of the six guitarists, as is Brady Winterstein) asks that everyone play very fast on the Parisian jaunt "Blue Citron." Standards like the quick bopper and chunky melody of "Topsy," Reinhardt's showstopping "Minor Swing," and the languid ballad "Nuages" are played fairly typically, but "My Blue Heaven" is updated with clever dead stops and start-ups. "For Grappelli" features the breezy accordion of Loeffler, who is the glue holding these speed demons together, but he joins in with the sprinters during "Fete de la Musique," the hottest of swingers. At the group's most settled, the under two-minute "J'Attendrai" shows the band can be less hyper, more sensibly parceled, and displaying a group aesthetic. "SamSong" has the Schmitt family in their most integrated stance, both in rhythm and with an edited approach, while the line to "Django's Tiger" is stretched out a bit. It seems there are many more bands of this type on the scene, not to suggest a trend as much as that people really like this kind of coalesced vintage jazz. It will be interesting to see what Dorado Schmitt and his siblings do the next time out, but for now, they've reached a peak of excellence within this well-defined genre. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Family, Dorado Schmitt
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Jan 12, 2010

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