I just checked our database and the earliest record we have of Luke Hendon attending this event is 2008. But then, our records only go back to 2007, so I may be missing something even earlier!
It would be an easy mistake to make because Luke is one of those people who shows up at Django in June, says hi, and then (from the perspective of those of us in the office) disappears. To catch another glimpse of him I have to step away from my laptop and venture out where the real action is: the classes and the jams. When I do, I am consistently impressed by the dedication Luke has demonstrated over the years and the progress he has made from back in the day when very few North Americans had any real clue what distinguished Gypsy jazz from American Swing. He gets it now. See for yourself:
We even get a wee bit of the credit for that according to Luke, in his own words:
I learned about Gypsy jazz at Django in June and like a lot of people that have been going as long as I have, I now play it professionally. I came out with an album recently called Silk and Steel. I am also on [Dave Gross’] album “Mandology” along with Olli Soikkeli.
I currently live in NYC which gives me the opportunity to play a lot of music with top notch players. I keep busy playing regularly with my own group as well as with Swing De Paris and Mandology. I also get to do a lot of gigs around town with whoever needs a guitarist that night. I’ve done all kinds of things with music in other styles including, spinal tap moments like playing with an eight piece funk band after a puppet show somewhere in Alabama! I have lots of band bus stories if you want them.
At Django in June and on my own I’ve studied with many of the best Gypsy jazz guitarists in the world. I incorporate all that I’ve learned into my teaching and look forward to sharing it with my students at Django Camp this summer!