Djangoners at the Gates Sat Nov 30th
Eddy Street in Collegetown, Ithaca NY
Saturday November 30th 7-10pm $5 cover.
ITHACA NY - What do you get when you combine Harry and Eric Aceto, guitarist and 5-string violinist of Djug Django with Bobby Henrie and Brian Williams, guitarist-vocalist and bassist of ace Rockabilly band, the Goners? You get a top-notch gypsy jazz/bop band with a supremely logical name: the Djangoners. And, in case there is anyone left in the world who does not know, the group explores the wonderful “dgenre” of music associated with the great gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt.
The Djangoners play the music of Django Reinhardt and his band from late 1930s Paris - “The Hot Club of France” - arguably, the most famous Jazz band Europe ever produced.
Django Reinhardt was born into a family of Manouche Gypsies in Belgium and began playing music early but, at age 18, he was seriously injured in a fire that rendered two fingers on his left hand useless, and doctors believed he would never play guitar again. Reinhardt persevered in rehabilitation and developed a technique using only two fingers for his spectacular guitar solos. In mid 1930’s Paris, Django joined forces with violinist, Stephane Grapelli and formed the Hot Club of France, which went on to a prolific recording and performance career popularizing Django’s original compositions and renditions of American Jazz classics.
Today, Django Reinhardt’s music is enjoying a resurgence in popularity, and the Djangoners are carrying on his legacy true to its tradition.
Bobby Henrie is a performer of exceptional ability and range. His early days as an astounding child prodigy shaped his talent and love of eclecticism which includes most traditional music from old-time country to rockabilly and swing. As a guitarist with an unorthodox (flipped, lefty) technique, he can rip through a heady brew of raw roots rock, blistering flatpicking, smoking blues or smooth jazz. His vocal style is heartfelt, well honed and true to the style whether it’s tough rocking or sultry swing. Bobby holds a degree in Jazz Guitar from SUNY Geneseo and is adept at writing material with a classic yet contemporary flair. He’s played and competed at many prestigious festivals including Galax (Virginia) and Union Grove (North Carolina) Fiddler’s Conventions, Winfield (Kansas) Guitar Festival, Wheatland and Berkshire Bluegrass festivals. In addition to the Goners, Bobby plays in the bluegrass bands, Cornerstone & Paris Texas. He is a founding member of the Gypsy Jazz band - The Djangoners - and continues to perform with his 4 brothers in the Henrie Brothers StringBand that began in 1974.
Brian Williams plays the upright bass in a style heavily influenced by the early basemen of jazz and rock’n'roll. He blends the rhythms of blues, bluegrass, dixieland and swing. Brian launched his musical career in 1972 with the SwampRoot StringBand playing festivals and fiddler’s conventions all along the Appalachians. Later, he joined the John Mooney Blues Band and toured for 10 years working clubs, festivals and concerts from Maine to Chicago to New Orleans.
Sharing the bill with national acts like Muddy Waters, Albert King, John Lee Hooker, Paul Butterfield and Asleep at the Wheel, Brian gained recognition as a player with respect for traditional styles as well as a unique slap-style technique. In 1985, he joined Bobby Henrie and the Goners and developed a rockabilly and swing repertoire. in 2004, he formed the jazz trio Lumiere and later, the Djangoners, a Gypsy Jazz band playing in the tradition of the great Django Reinhardt.
Eric Aceto has been immersed in the traditions of jazz, acoustic folk and blues, electrified rock and experimental music for over 30 years. He’s active as a session player, touring musician and designer of musical instruments. Primarily self-taught, he advanced his violin technique under the tutelage of concert violinist Rolfe Sokol. Some of his musical projects include work with British guitar virtuoso Martin Simpson, cellist Hank Roberts, banjo player Richie Stearns, Doug Robinson, the Mectapus band, the Scott B. Adams AcousticEnsemble, the Burns Sisters Band, the Eric Aceto Quartet and Djug Django.
Born to a family that has produced several generations of artists and musicians in Rochester, New York, Eric attended art school at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and Nazareth College, where he learned to combine his natural musicianship with an affinity for wood and sculptural form. While playing music during his college years, his dissatisfaction with the amplified violins of the time led him to experiment with the design and construction of his own instruments. As an instrument builder and owner of “Ithaca Stringed Instruments”, Eric has devoted years to developing and evolving instruments of exceptional quality. His violins, mandolins and guitars are in increasing demand by discerning musicians around the world; artists such as Jean Luc Ponty, Darol Anger, Matt Glaser, Tommy Malone, Jerry Goodman, Ritchie Havens, Irene Sazer, Ruben Blades, David Torn and many, many others play his instruments.
Harry Aceto’s musical career was launched at age 10 with a Christmas present of a toner banjo. He played along with brothers Robby & Eric to records by the Weavers, Leadbelly, Kingston Trio, New Lost City Ramblers and the Stanley Brothers. Soon, he graduated to the “hootenanny & coffeehouse” folkie circuit….experimenting on anything with strings on it - guitar, uke, mandolin, fiddle, bass. Throughout high school, he played in bluegrass, folk-rock & blues bands and eventually discovered the music of Fats Waller, Cab Calloway, Louis Jordan, Basie, Ellington, & Django Reinhardt….. he was hooked for life! Later, he concentrated on electric & upright bass, gigging steadily with an ever-increasing array of arty original music groups, wedding bands, southern old-time, trad jazz, latin, & swing dancebands.
Harry’s had no real formal training but has always managed to get by with good ears & deep family musical gene-pool; educating himself one tune at a time, luckily working with well-schooled players. Concurrently, he’s maintained a day job as a luthier at Ithaca Guitar Works since 1981, responsible for all the stringed instrument repairs & setups.
In 1997, he was hired by Jay Ungar & Molly Mason as regular staff member at their summer music & dance camps at Ashokan, NY. Following began a series of festivals, concerts & tours with Jay & Molly’s band “Swingology”, as well as with other folk & jazz luminaries, including David Bromberg, the Clayfoot Strutters & Wild Asparagus.
What began as a childhood obsession has somehow evolved into a life of music taking him all across the U.S. and beyond to Europe & Central America.
More info on Gypsy Jazz in western NY and The Djangoners:
Gypsy Jazz - the style of music developed by Django Reinhardt in the 1930s, has developed a following in Western New York beginning a decade ago with the help of local bands: Babik in Buffalo, DjugDjango in Ithaca and Lumiere in Rochester. Lumiere not only played Gypsy Jazz but had a Parisian Cafe vibe largely due to the fine accordion playing of Ed Marris and his repertoire of Musette Waltzes. But when Ed Marris relocated to the Catskills a few years ago essentially ending the original Lumiere band, it left a void in Rochester’s jazz scene. Bobby Henrie and Brian Williams (of Goners fame for over 25 years) quickly assembled “Manouche a Trois” with the addition of Taylor Buckley (3-time Montana State Fiddle Champion). Taylor is an outstanding violinist but had just gotten his medical degree and with 5 years of intense hospital residency ahead, couldn’t commit to regular gigs. Bobby was coming into his own with his Django stylings (albiet flipped lefty backwards) so he and Brian called upon the Aceto brothers; Eric on violin and Harry on rhythm guitar. Eric and Harry from Ithaca’s DjugDjango were anxious to dig deeper into Gypsy Jazz and were pleased to get the call and form “The Djangoners” and interpret the great repertoire of Django’s “Hot Club of France”.