Las Vegas Romani jazz festival to showcase traditional tunes

If not for a fire, Parisian Django Reinhardt might have stuck with the banjo. When the left side of his body was severely burned, partially paralyzing two of his fingers, his brother bought him a guitar to help with his rehabilitation. Not long after, he discovered the music of Louis Armstrong and other New Orleans jazz and swing artists, combined it with the traditional Romani music of his people and invented a new form of jazz.

“I did some research trying to figure out his technique, and that’s when I found out he only had two working fingers,” said Mundo Juillerat, a guitar player and leader of the Hot Club of Las Vegas. “What he could do with two fingers, I can barely do with four. He was the first rock guitarist. Without him, we wouldn’t have people like Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen.”

Juillerat and the Hot Club of Las Vegas are set to perform at the fifth annual DjangoVegas! Gypsy Jazz Festival scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. June 18 at the Historic Fifth Street School, 401 S. Fourth St. The band has performed at all four of the previous festivals. Juillerat helped get the festival going with Brian Kendall, a cultural supervisor for the city of Las Vegas Office of Cultural Affairs.

“I had heard that kind of music at a couple of conferences I had attended,” Kendall said. “I saw the Hot Club playing in a one-bedroom house during a First Friday. I talked to Mundo, and it all started coming together.”

Juillerat said that, for his part, he finds new acts each year and plays their work for Kendall. If he approves, Juillerat sets up a meeting and then steps away and lets them work out the contracts.

The Hot Club draws its inspiration from Hot Jazz, one of the other names used for the music Reinhardt created and popularized. In his native France and some other places, it is also known as Manouche Jazz, as the Romani consider the word “Gypsy” to be a racial slur.

Reinhardt was a Manouche, a subgroup, or Natsia, of the Romani.

“What I love about it is the musicianship coming together,” Kendall said. “I love the different beats and rhythms coming together and seeing where it goes. There’s a kind of energy to it that’s addictive in an artsy way.”

In addition to Juillerat’s, group performances are scheduled by The Frank Vignola Trio, Hot House West and The Rhythm Future Quartet out of Boston.

“The Boston guys have a real modern take on the music,” Juillerat said. “They’re going to blow the roof off.”

The quartet is led by violinist Jason Anick, who teaches at the Berklee College of Music.

“We have a violin, two acoustic guitars and an upright bass, so we have kind of a traditional sound,” Anick said. “It’s traditional instruments, but we’re trying to bring the music into the future.”

Anick is a rare returning musician to the festival, having performed there previously with another group. He’s excited about performing the music and hearing his peers perform.

“I love the excitement, the energy and the emotion that go into the music,” Anick said. “You can have a super happy joyous foot-tapping swing tune followed by a heart-wrenching soulful dark melody in a minor key. It runs the full range of the emotional and musical palette.”

The Rhythm Future Quartet recently released an album, and it plans to play several selections, including original compositions and an instrumental cover of The Beatles’ “Come Together” played much as they imagine Reinhardt might have performed it.

For Kendall, the highlight of the evening will come at the end, after all of the groups have performed their sets.

“There’s a tradition at these festivals at the end of the night,” Kendall said. “All the groups get down to the auditorium floor and play in an unplugged setting. It’s stripped down with them jamming on just their instruments, creating this awesome art and music.”

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Visit or call 702-229-1012.

To reach East Valley View reporter F. Andrew Taylor, email or call 702-380-4532.

NFR Day 7 Highlights
Highlights from the 7th go-round of the 2018 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (CBS Sports Network/PRCA)
NFR- Jessica Routier
NFR Barrel Racer Jessica Routier talks about being at her first NFR, her horses, and her family with Cassie Soto in front of Thomas & Mack before round 7 of the National Finals Rodeo.
The Nevada State Museum
The Nevada State Museum of Las Vegas, located at the Springs Preserve, covers all eras of the state, from prehistoric to today.
NFR Day 6 Highlights
Highlights from the 6th go-round of the 2018 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. (CBS Sports Network/PRCA)
Las Vegas Bowl Teams Talk Shop at Maverick Helicopters
Arizona State, Fresno State talk to the media at Maverick Helicopters.
NFR- Will Lowe
NFR Bareback Rider Will Lowe talks with Aaron Drawhorn about his 15 years at the NFR, starting to ride at age 7, and renewing his wedding vowels this year in Las Vegas before night 6 of the National Finals Rodeo.
Veterans Village
Veterans Village and Veterans Village II were created to assist homeless veterans get back on their feet. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holiday party cocktails
Veterans Village II Unveils Model Container Home
Veteran's Village II unveiled a model container home. The organization will be building 10 of these container homes to house veterans of the village. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
NFR Day 5 Highlights
NFR Day 5 Highlights
NFR- Kory Koontz
NFR Team Roper Kory Koontz talks about his years at the event since 1992, his dynamic with a 23 year old partner Dustin Egusquiza, and how he contines to perform with diabetes with Aaron Drawhorn outside of Thomas & Mack before round 5 of the National Rodeo Finals.
Meet the woman behind the Las Vegas Bowl
Melissa Meacham-Grossman is the associate executive director for the Las Vegas Bowl. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NFR Highlights Day 4
NFR highlights day 4
NFR Introduces Golden Circle Of Champions
For the first time, the National Finals Rodeo has partnered with the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo to offer the Golden Circle of Champions. The event brings in 20 children and their families from around the country that have previously or are currently fighting life-threatening cancer.
NFR Time Lapse 2018
Watch Thomas & Mack Center transform from a basketball court to an arena fit for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. Video courtesy of Las Vegas Events.
RJ's Mark Anderson on the UNLV loss
Review-Journal sports reporter Mark Anderson recaps UNLV's loss at Illinois. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Joel Ntambwe on performance against Illinois
UNLV forward Joel Ntambwe talks about the 18 points he scored against Illinois. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Amauri Hardy on loss at Illinois
UNLV guard Amauri Hardy talks about Saturday's loss at Illinois. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Marvin Menzies on loss at Illinois
UNLV basketball coach Marvin Menzies talks about Saturday's loss at Illinois. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Baby Roman's mother and his doctor talk about his medical condition
Baby Roman's mother and his doctor talk about his medical condition. Roman was born Dec. 13, 2017 and has been at Sunrise Children Hospital with a rare heart condition since. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
NFR 2018: Unique Gifts At Cowboy Christmas
Before you head over to the Thomas and Mack for NFR, be sure to check out some of the unique and one of a kind items at Cowboy Christmas!
NFR: Dale Brisby
Day two of the National Finals Rodeo has started and Premier Vegas Sports host Cassies Soto interviews social media influencer Super Puncher Dale Brisby.
103-year-old celebrates birthday at gym
Joe Rosa of Las Vegas celebrated his 103rd birthday celebration at 24 Hour Fitness in Summerlin Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. After being the victim of a hit-and-run crash, Rosa's medical team told him he would never walk again. Rosa credits physical therapy and a personal trainer at the club for his return to health. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Henderson native Mason Clements finished second in NFR bareback go-round
Mason Clements discusses his second-place bareback ride on opening night of the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec 6, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Marvin Menzies on where UNLV stands at this point
UNLV basketball coach Marvin Menzies talks about where UNLV stands at this point in the season. (Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Public memorial service for Jerry Herbst
The Mob Museum
Saddle bronc rider Joey Sonnier earns spot at NFR after overcoming years of drug addiction
Joey Sonnier started saddle bronc riding at 18, but at 20 he began using methamphetamine to cope with the work of the rodeos and became addicted. At 39, after years of addiction and a low point that pushed him to rehab, he's qualified for the National Finals Rodeo. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Core Arena opens at the Plaza downtown in time for NFR
Core Arena, downtown's first permanent outdoor equestrian center, opens to the public at the Plaza. The arena will be used for events throughout the year, including the 10-day 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas
MountainView Hospital celebrates the opening of the new Sunrise Health GME Simulation Center.
MountainView Hospital celebrates the opening of the new Sunrise Health GME Simulation Center. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Tony Sanchez wraps up the UNLV season
UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez wraps up the season. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like