By Allen Morrison
“A standout performance on the festival’s last day was by the Django Festival All-Stars, from France, who in their first appearance at Newport proved to be a crowd favorite and a top candidate for the hardest-swinging group at the fest. The quintet, now on a national tour, is modeled after the Hot Club of France, including two guitars (Samson Schmitt on lead and DouDou Cuillerier on rhythm and scat vocals), violin (Pierre Blanchard), button accordion (Ludovic Beier) and bass (Brian Torff, the sole American), with the occasional addition of a guest, pianist Peter Beets from Holland.
PHOTO: Django Festival All Stars Starring Dorado Schmitt
The Wall Street Journal wrote (2013)
“The Best Jazz Show in town”
The Newport News (Summer/August 2014)
‘One of the treats of every jazz festival is being knocked out by a performer you had never heard of. That was the case with the sweet and low down Django Festival All-Stars, …Think of the jazzy soundtracks for many Woody Allen films..They played inside the Quad Stage while McFerrin chirped and whooped on the main stage. The Django Festival All Stars were the more exciting and surprising choice.
The burly Schmitt, looking like a more swinging version of Ernest Borgnine, was dressed all in white, with a white fedora and black band. His lightning licks, touched by a kind of melodic genius, were nothing short of sensational. Yet matching him in impact was accordionist Beier, who looked like he might be the band’s accountant but played like an angel. On his own ballad, “Fleur De Brasil,” his heart-wrenching playing on the accordina (similar to a melodica but with buttons instead of a keyboard) was reminiscent of harmonicist Toots Thielemans at his zenith and as good a solo as was heard at Newport this year.”