For the last few years Worcester-based Jack Soref has served Django in June with distinction in a number of capacities. He is a teacher here, of course, and assists other teachers in preparing for the event. He’s also the person most responsible for the “Get Ready” materials we make available each year, including the “24 Gypsy Jazz Standards” booklet. He created a companion handout for that which is oriented toward relative newcomers to this style of guitar—specifically, rhythm guitar. The handout introduces common Gypsy jazz chord voicings, some of which are not at all common in other guitar styles familiar to North Americans. If you think that intro might be helpful for you, here’s your first lesson with Jack. (Credit: hair by Antoine Boyer.)
Jack became captivated by Django’s music after two life-changing visits to the Django Reinhardt festival in Samois-sur-Seine in 2002 and ‘03. As a teenager he managed to pick up tips and tricks from players such as Robin Nolan, Jan Brouwer, Jonny Hepbir, and Alfonso Ponticelli. Subsequently, Jack moved to Boston to continue his studies at the Berklee College of Music, as well as at our very own Django Camp. For half of 2011, frère Jacques studied the music of Django Reinhardt at its source, in Paris. While there he tormented us with emails detailing his exploits jamming and performing with old masters (Boulou!, Florin!) and young bucks of the scene on the Seine. He meant well.
Jack has since performed in the Django style with many bands in the Boston Area. He toured and recorded as member of Ameranouche, for one:
Jack can be seen regularly in the greater Boston area with everyone playing Gypsy jazz. 2019 promises to be a big year for him with the release his first CD as a leader. It is a collection of twelve original compositions with Dallas Vietty on accordion, Jameson Stewart on guitar, and Sven Larson and Jim Guttmann sharing bass duty. They just laid down those tracks, so I can’t preview the CD yet. Hopefully we’ll have it in hand at DiJ 2019. Meantime, here’s a relatively recent video of Jack with a couple of the aforementioned musicians. The novel guitar was designed and built by Dan Hunt.