Sami has worn several hats over the years at Django in June. He started attending Django Camp while still a music student at Towson State and—I’m going to go out on a limb here—fast became the resident expert on Gypsy jazz within that music department.
That would be some 6 years ago and in the years since Sami has developed into a skillful player in the style. In 2014 I asked him to prepare a series of “get ready for Django in June” videos specifically geared toward newcomers to the style. (You’ll find all those here.) That same year he and Brad Brose got together to capture this novel medley:
For the past two years Sami has been our good-will ambassador to slow jammers and newcomers. In that capacity he has corresponded, counselled and jammed with countless newcomers to Django in June, helping them find their way and their peeps as they’ve gotten accustomed to both this genre and this event. Although he won’t be officially serving in that capacity this year, you can still count on him for friendly and well-informed support should you need it.
And if you are a relative beginner in the style you’ll want to check out Sami’s Level 1 offerings. He’s a patient and experienced teacher—and the cat can play. He does so most often these days as a member of the Hot Club of Baltimore and Ultrafaux. The folks associated with those groups (especially one Michael Joseph Harris) have pretty much single-handedly brought Gypsy jazz to Charm City via both their performances and the jams they host. Here’s Sami stretching out with Ultrafaux on a tune you may know. You go, hon.