Never heard of Kourosh Kanani? That’s OK. One of the functions we like to serve here at Django in June is to play musical matchmaker by introducing new European talent to US students and fans of the Gypsy jazz. More often than not that talent comes from France, Holland or Germany. occasionally Italy or Spain. But rarely from the UK. We have made some progress in that area in recent years: Tim Robinson was here just a few years ago and Giacomo Smith, an honorary Brit, is now on our staff two years running. And he, in fact, gets the assist for unwittingly introducing us to “Koo,” as this fine young guitarist is affectionately known. This video of them playing together may have been my own introduction to his playing.
Half Irish and half Iranian, Koo began his musical journey rather unpredictably, playing fingerstyle blues and ragtime. The extraordinary skill he evidenced for guitar from the proverbial get-go came in handy when, at 15, his brother brought home a CD of one Django Reinhardt. That moment shifted his musical attention from the Mississippi to the Seine. He now plays regularly at venues in and around London; places like Kansas Smitty’s and Le Quecumbar, where he was recognized as one of the top five gypsy jazz players in the country. Here he is with one of his steady outfits, the quartet Daj Dook.