In the most recent picture I’ve seen of Brad Brose his long arm is splayed across the shoulders of Tchavolo Schmitt, taken just before their show at Pennabilli Django Festival. Chalk up another win for one of Django in June’s ambassadors abroad.
For the last few years Brad Brose has headed west to attend Django in June from his home in Paris. That’s the dream of many a Django-lover, of course, but know this: Paris is where really serious Gypsy jazz players from North America have to be prepared to go from being a big fish in a small pond to getting eaten for breakfast. It takes courage; it takes dedication; it takes hard work. When all else fails, it takes banjo. And tuba. Together.
The first time Brad came to Django in June it was from the other direction, east from LA. That was 2014, and he was here as a camper. Ever since, we’ve been putting him to work, asking him to not only teach in person, but often by video before the event. You can still find many of them on youtube. Here’s one he did for DiJ 2017. The topic is one dear to every student of Gypsy jazz, at whatever level: how to approach learning Django’s solos.
Now Brad Brose gigs all over Europe, teaches workshops at La Chope des Puces, plays in several groups, sits in with everyone, and makes everybody else look and sound great on video. Occasionally he makes himself look and sound great on video, too. Like here: