I got married last month.
Earlier in my relationship with my now-wife, I used to mention Django Reinhardt regularly amongst my favorite guitarists. She had no idea who he was. One day I was listening to Django at my computer while she walked by. I didn't realize I'd never played him for her before. She exclaimed that it was one of her favorite types of music, known to her only from the soundtrack to Chocolat, and she asked me who it was. And so we discovered our shared love of gypsy jazz.
As we planned our wedding earlier this year, choosing the music didn't require a second thought. Gypsy jazz would be involved either by iPod or live musicians, and "Minor Swing," our favorite, would play a central role. I started asking Google where to find gypsy jazz in the Pacific Northwest. There was a wider selection than I had anticipated, but two groups showed the most promise: Pearl Django and The Djangomatics. We would have been thrilled to book either of these bands, but as we planned our celebration, it increasingly called for a low-key musical element. We decided a guitar duo would be best.
I had previously come across the Seattle Jazz Guitar Collective via Facebook, so I contacted its leader, Brad Benefield, and asked about recommendations for gypsy jazz guitarists in the area. He pointed me right back to Pearl Django, suggesting that I contact one of their guitarists directly. I got in touch with Neil Andersson, based on his great soloing in the video below.
Neil was happy to take the gig, and very helpful, agreeing to procure a second guitarist as well as battery-powered amps after we confirmed that there would be no power at our intimate beach location. Eager to hear more of his playing, I found a few videos like this one, demoing gypsy jazz guitars with Michael Horowitz, owner of DjangoBooks.com and guitarist with The Djangomatics.
I found out later that Neil would be bringing Michael as the second guitarist at the wedding. Cool!
On the big day itself, Neil and Michael were professional, friendly, and did a wonderful job. They played "Minor Swing" with an abbreviated intro for our recessional, and they continued with their own set for another three hours in the same location for our reception. I got to make guitar talk with them during a couple of their breaks, but I was only able to pay attention to their playing for brief moments, as the whole day was a whirlwind. (I hope I wasn't rude to anyone, zoning out to the guitar notes instead of listening to a story.) I loved what I heard, and I loved having them play for our guests, and everyone who mentioned the music to me loved it too. I think it was my very favorite day.
Thanks Neil and Michael!
Michael Horowitz and Neil Andersson at my wedding!