Three Rivers Commercial News | Robert Tomlinson, Staff Writer
THREE RIVERS — Djangophonique, a jazz manouche and hot swing music group, will be performing their musical stylings tonight at 7 p.m. at the Riviera Theatre in Three Rivers.
Djangophonique was started by Ann Arbor-born musician Andrew Brown, who is the son of a Motown session musician who played with the likes of Chuck Berry and the Four Tops. Brown said he grew up listening to the sounds of his dad’s piano, which was “steeped in musical influences from Duke Ellington to Stevie Wonder.”
As a teenager, Brown said he went on a trip with some friends to New Orleans and developed an interest in some of the musical stylings down there.
“I was really interested in the traditional jazz stuff I saw happening down there, the sort of pre-bebop swing,” Brown said. “When I got back, I started getting more serious about guitar, and when I was about 20 or 21, I started a group with another guy in Ann Arbor called Appleseed Collective.”
Appleseed Collective, Brown said, had a “kind of eclectic, folky sound,” with “influences of old swing.”
After the group took some time off, Brown said he developed an affinity for the jazz manouche style, also known as “gypsy jazz,” popularized by Belgian-born Romani-French jazz guitarist and composer Django Reinhardt, who Brown called “the only influential jazz musician to come out of Europe” and “the original acoustic shredder.”
“In the early inception of jazz, it was always everyone from Aamerica influencing everyone else, and Django is one of the only jazz musicians who influenced his contemporaries in America,” Brown said. “So, I based the project not only off his music, but the general style of music developed post-Django.”
Brown said he enjoyed many things about the style of Reinhardt’s music, which led him to develop the Djangophonique project.
“It’s a super-energetic and infectious style of music, and it’s hard to describe,” Brown said. “It’s different from other forms of jazz or most American jazz, because it’s jazz for the guitar. Not only is the guitar one of the featured lead instruments, it’s also the rhythm section. The guitar player in this style gets to be both the drummer, horn, and piano player. The rhythm section is just an upright bass and a rhythm guitar. It’s that rhythm section that really got me.”
Brown said he has studied at multiple music camps, which have included many of the genre’s best-known names today, such as Angelo Debarre, Sebastian Gineaux, and Gonzalo Bergara, who he also said influenced his style of music.
Brown has previously played at the Riviera Theatre with Appleseed Collective, and said he always enjoys playing at the theatre.
“It’s the most amazing sounding room. It has a tone where I can just get on the guitar, play a single note, and it rings out like the voice of god,” Brown said. “I don’t know if people [in Three Rivers] realize what a beautiful concert venue they have. It’s not only visually, but auditorily amazing and perfect.”
Tonight’s audience, Brown said, should expect a “rich musical experience.”
“It’s a whole lot of energy, it’s going to be two guitars, an upright bass, and a clarinet,” Brown said.
“There are a lot of songs we like to play really fast, as part of the style, there’s a lot of extremely hot, fast, and intense songs. There’s also really sweet ballads and some minor songs. If you love guitar, if you love jazz, and if you love music in general, you don’t want to miss this show.”
Tickets to Djangophonique are $10 and can be purchased at the door. The show begins at 7 p.m.