2017 will be the 4th year in a row at Django in June for William Brunard, but when it came time to re-write this blurb last year I realized how little I knew of his story. Maybe there was a bio of him somewhere on the web, I thought. If so, I couldn’t find it. That is not (only) a lack of information; it is your first hint as to the character of this extremely talented musician who rarely claims the limelight for himself.
Still curious, I turned to Patrus to see if he had done an interview with William and, happily, found this one. From it I gleaned this much: that William was born into a family of musicians; that he was inspired first by hearing Tchavolo Schmitt and only later by Django; that as a teenager he was schooled on guitar by Ninine (Garcia, of/at the La Chope Des Puces) and later by Frangy Delporte. It was also Frangy who suggested William try double bass, a suggestion seconded by the late Patrick Saussois. It was an excellent idea. Here’s a clip of William and Frangy in a typically noisy club setting in Paris playing with none other than Serge Krief, also on staff at DiJ this year.
For years William hosted a jam session every Sunday at l’Atelier Charonne in Paris (sadly, now closed) at which the best players on the planet routinely sat in as invited guests. In this clip at l’Atelier he’s performing on guitar with one such player, Mr. Angelo Debarre.
As you can see from that clip William is a very skilled guitarist in this style and since we need so many guitar instructors that’s the role he has played at DiJ…until this year, that is. We are happy to report that in 2017 William will be working primarily with bassists. He is, after all, best known as a double bass player. The list of top-tier Gypsy jazz musicians he has accompanied would include… let’s see: everyone. Here he is with Bireli Lagrene—who gives him the nod to take a solo at around the 4 minute mark.
If you’d like to see more of William on bass you can find youtube videos of him accompanying almost all of our headliners for the last several years: Samson Schmitt, Tcha Limberger, Antoine Boyer and Sébastien Giniaux, etc. This year, he’ll be performing on the weekend with both Marcel Loeffler and Serge Krief. But during the week leading up to those concerts he’s all yours. Trust me in this: whatever your interest, whatever your instrument, you are not going to learn much from or about William Brunard online. Best to show up and learn it in person.