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SAMSON SCHMITT

Samson Schmitt (Lead Guitarist), born on September 20, 1979, learned how to play guitar with his father Dorado. He played in public for the first time, at age 12, at the International Jazz Festival in Munich, Germany. Mr. Schmitt is influenced by George Benson, Richard Galliano, Bireli Lagrene, Toots Thielemans, Florin Nicaulescu, Didier Lockwood, Sylvain Luc, Dominique DiPiazza, and Angelo Debarre. From 1990–99 he played with the Dorado Schmitt Quintet, the group Kakiweiss (rhythm guitar), and with Hono and Gino Reinhardt. In 2000 and 2001 he played with Alexandre Cavalieres, Tchavolo Schmitt, Povro Sinto, Angelo Debarre (Corsican Trio), Jimmy Rosenberg, and with his own group the Samson Schmitt Quartet. He has played in many festivals as well as participated in Nuits de la Guitar in Partimonio, Corsica, where he invited Dominique DiPiazza (July 2002) and in the Festival Sons D’Hiver in Paris (2002), invited by his father Dorado Schmitt. In 2002 he recorded his first CD Djieske. Currently, he travels around the world with his own Gypsy Jazz Band as well as touring with his father. Mr. Schmitt is a permanent leading member of the Django Festival All-Stars, touring the U.S. for many years at major venues such as the Kennedy Center and the Hollywood Bowl.




DORADO SCHMITT

Dorado Schmitt is a legendary Manouche gypsy guitarist from the Strasbourg region of France. Schmitt started coming to the United States in 2002 and has been a star attraction at major festivals and at Birdland in NY, home of the Django Reinhardt NY Festival. He has played alongside some of the U.S.’s most important jazz artists, including James Carter, Paquito D’Rivera, George Benson, Joe Lovano, Harry Allen and so many others.

Schmitt, a Django look-alike with his pencil thin mustache, gifted on the guitar and violin, suffered a terrible accident years ago, just as Django Reinhardt did in his life. Dorado’s was a car accident that put him in a coma for a long time and damaged his body, but he miraculously recovered. Django lost two fingers in a fire in his caravan which led to the incredible style of music he created due to his special fingering on the guitar. Dorado carries on the legacy of Django with the help of other gifted musicians and is a legend of gypsy jazz.

He became famous to the general public thanks to his appearance in the film Latcho Drom, telling the real story of the Rom people moving from India to the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts.

Schmitt was born in St-Avold, Lorraine, on May 29, 1957 and was surrounded by musicians throughout his youth, in particular his father. He picked up the guitar at age 7. At around 15 years old, his musical taste went towards pop and rock music by Santana or Jimmy Hendrix. But in 1978 he created the Dorado Trio, with fellow musicians Gino Heplays on violin and Hono Winterstein on guitar. He went on to play alongside the greats Bireli Lagrene, Sochelo Rosenberg and so many more. Dorado stands as one of the most in-demand gypsy jazz artists in the business, playing with musicians in this style all over the world.




AMATI SCHMITT

Amati Schmitt (Lead Guitarist) is the young son of the legendary gypsy guitarist Dorado Schmitt. Now 24, he is following in his father’s footsteps, quickly becoming one of the young jazz stars of Europe. He performs at festivals and clubs with his father all over Europe, and started coming to the United States a few years ago to be part of the Django Reinhardt Festival at Birdland. In November 2015 he toured for the first time with the Django Festival All-Stars across the United States, appearing at the Hollywood Bowl to standing ovations, a true virtuoso.




LUDOVIC BEIER

Ludovic Beier, from Paris, has been a regular at the Festival on accordion and accordina, a very interesting instrument sometimes called a mouth accordion.  He performs at major festivals all over the world alongside the greats of jazz.  Born in 1978, jazz musician at heart since his childhood, Ludovic Beier is passionate about its "west-coast." Il découvre ses idoles (Chick Corea, George Duke, Charlie Parker, He discovered his idols (Chick Corea, George Duke, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, George Benson…) qui l'influencent au cours des années de sa formation musicale. Miles Davis, George Benson ...) that influence during the years of his musical training. In Europe, he played alongside the legendary guitarist Angelo Debarre which marked the beginning of his career as a jazz musician, and the rest is history.  He traveled to NY to perform at Birdland, where he had an opprotunity to perform with  Dorado Schmitt, Samson Schmitt, Tchavolo Schmitt and many great American Jazz greats,  James Carter, Paquito D'Rivera et Frank Wess. He has recorded many CD's, the latest "Come Into My Swing".  He the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall at the MAGIC OF TOOTS, Tribute to Toots Thieloemans alongside Herbie Hancock, Eliane Elias, Ivan Lins and others.

   Plays the accordina as well ..Downbeat says .."Reminicent of Toots Thielemans at his zenith "



PIERRE BLANCHARD

Pierre Blanchard, also from France, is a violin virtuoso. He also teaches at some of the top universities in France. Trained at a very high level in classical music, composition and arrangement, he began his jazz career performing and recording for five years with the Martial Solal Big Band as Violin Solo. Invited to perform with S. Grappelli, he received from him « Michel Warlop's violin ».

Pierre performed also all around Europe with Vince Mendoza, Michel Legrand, Toots Thielemans, Lee Konitz, Jacky Mc Lean, Max Roach, Billy Higgins, Ornette Coleman, Jean-Luc Ponty, Gotan Project...

Pierre has been performing at the Django Reinhardt Festival at Birdland and touring in the United States for many years now, playing with the Dorado Schmitt Allstars.

Born in 1956 à Saint-Quentin (France)

Pierre Blanchard also performed with : Stéphane Grappelli, Martial Solal, Jean-Luc Ponty, Lee Konitz, Ornette Coleman, Jackie Mc Lean, Max Roach, Bob Mover, Larry Schneider, Jasper Van't Hof, Billy Higgins, Toots Thielemans, Vince Mendoza, Philippe Catherine, André Ceccarelli, Manu Katché, Gotan Project…

 

 


ANTONIO LICUSATI

Antonio Licusati (Bassist) was born inSalerno, Italy in 1964. When he was little his grandfather, who used to play in the village’s fanfare, transmitted to him his love for the aria of Puccini’s and Verdi’s operas. From then on, he developed his passion for music. When he turned 13, he started to learn the guitar and then switched to the electric bass. He played rock, blues, and discovered jazz, thanks to the records of Thelonius Monk and Charles Mingus. He also discovered his first music hero: Jaco Pastorius. After that, he started playing the doubleness and dedicated himself to jazz.

He was inspired by many famous bassist: Milt Hinton, Walter Page, Jimmi Blanton, Charles Mingus, Oscar Pettiford, Ray Brown, Paul Chambers, Wilbur Ware, and many others like Scott LaFaro and Eddie Gomez. Mr. Licusati played all kinds of jazz with many musicians, including Enrico Fava, Kenny Wheeler, Paolo Fresu, Massimo Urbani, Gianni Basso, David Murray, Luca Florfes, Stefano DiBattista, Richie Cole and Stefano Bollani.

When he moved to Paris in 1996, he discovered Django Reinhardt’s music and played with many great gypsy jazz musicians, including Babik Reinhardt, Dorado Schmitt, Angelo Debarre, Bireli Lagrene, Tchavolo Schmitt, Patrick Saussois, Christian Escoude, Florin Niculescu, Romane. Mr. Licusati has been collaborating with the great gypsy guitar player Angelo Debarre for 15 years and also performs alongside Ludovic Beier in concerts in Europe.

 

 



DOUDOU CUILLERIER

Philippe Cuillerier alias « Doudou » is well known in gypsy jazz style as a unmissable rhythm-guitar sideman for greats artists like Angelo Debarre, Romane, Tchavolo Schmitt, Bireli Lagrene, Babik Reinhardt, Stochelo Rosenberg, Christophe Lartilleux, Latcho Drom, Patrick Saussois, Rodolphe Raffalli for a strong rhythm section.  He also has a very good singing voice which spices up the concerts with some raging scat-singing, gypsy or french songs. As an undertaking musician, he also gave lessons during a long time and founded with his old fellow André Venturini the swinging guitar website : l’Echo des Cuillères, (a very well known website for all the afficionados in the world from 1998 to 2004). He participate to the Romane's magazine "French Guitar".

Now, he plays with Ludovic Beier and performed with him at Birdland (Manhattan), playing rhythm guitar and singing for many great musicians, like : Samson Schmitt, Pierre Blanchard, Edmar Castaneda, James Carter, Jane Monheit, Joe Fram, Cyrille Aimé, Peter Beets, and many others.

He performs in France and Europe with his own band “Doudou Swing”, creating musical shows  , also for children.