Greetings, and thanks for your interest in Django in June’s 2024 concerts. This year, friends, we celebrate our 20th anniversary!

Anyone who has been following the development of North American Gypsy jazz over the past two decades knows what a remarkable transformation has taken place owing to a variety of factors: the availability of better instructional materials, better instruments and, most importantly, more face to face contact between experts in the style and those of us eager to learn. Jazz manouche is an oral tradition, and we’ve been listening.

To highlight this fact, over the course of four sets this weekend we’ll bring you two European groups and two led by North Americans. As always, the groups featured in our performances are made up of artists who have been teaching and jamming with us all week up on the Smith campus. We’ll do our best to describe this year’s program below, but it is safe to say that whether we mention them here or not, other artists in town for “Django Camp” will be making appearances. Django in June is delightfully unpredictable that way. Please join us!

Both shows start at 7:30
Tickets are $30 advance / $35 at the door


Brad Brose and his Bad Bros
Jean-Claude Laudat & Jean-Yves Dubanton


Brad Brose has been on the teaching staff at Django in June for many years. As befits anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the Gypsy side of Gypsy jazz, Brad is among the most well-travelled of North Americans playing in the style. He lived for several years in Paris and, from there, played widely on the European continent.

Last year his group, Brad Brose and his Bad Bros, released their first CD, Breukelen, intertwining hot jazz from the 30’s with the band members’ own wide-ranging roots: violinist Adrien Chevalier hails from France; drummer Uri Zelig from Israel; and bassist Abe Pollack, from Seattle. With tunes from Mexico to France, from Gypsy camps to classical orchestras, the Bad Bros take their musical inspiration from all over the world and from past to present.

Accordionist Jean-Claude Laudat hails from the Bastille district of Paris, a stone’s throw from the famous rue de Lappe where, in Django’s era, there were over a dozen small clubs featuring swing musette. “La musette“, should you be unfamiliar with the term, is the classic accordion-based music — primarily waltzes — used routinely in song and film to conjure up nostalgic images of pre-war France. Django Reinhardt himself started his musical career (well before his right hand was injured) as an accompanist for bal-musette dances. When the style is infused with the harmonies and rhythmic vitality of American jazz, it is transformed into “swing musette” — see Gus Viseur or Jo Privat.

Better yet, come see Jean-Claude Laudat and guitarist/vocalist Jean-Yves Dubanton carry on the tradition live at The Academy of Music. The two men have been working together since 1994 both as a duo and in larger groups. Joined by other members of the Django in June teaching staff you are guaranteed a delightful evening of French chanson, jazz and java*.
(*Java — a sub-genre of musette.)


Max O’Rourke
Les Violons de Bruxelles


Max O’Rourke has been teaching at Django Camp for several years, but their association with the event goes back even longer. They were born and raised not far from here, in West Rutland, Vermont, and first attended Django in June as a student at 16. Even as a teen, Max was a skilled Gypsy jazz guitarists. Not much later, in fact, they were the winner of the 2015 Saga Award at DjangoFest Northwest. Their formal education continued at Berklee College of Music, capped off by touring stints with some of the top American Gypsy Jazz musicians, including John Jorgenson and Gonzalo Bergara. In recent years, Max’s steadiest gig has been with another of North America’s premier GJ outfits, Rhythm Future Quartet.

We have been telling Max for several years that as soon as they had something of their own that they would like to share with our audience, there was a spot on the stage reserved for them. This year, to our delight, Max claims that spot. They will be joined by local hero, clarinetist Evan Arntzen, Baltimore-based Sami Arefin on rhythm guitar and Abe Pollack on bass.


Django Reinhardt’s music is celebrated, copied and sometimes betrayed all over the world. Most of the time, here at Django in June as elsewhere, the instrumental formula is that of the legendary Hot Club de France: a violin or clarinet, a lead guitar, one or two rhythm guitars and a double bass. The formula has endured because, with the right musicians, it works splendidly for the string-based jazz Django pioneered in his early years.

Les Violons de Bruxelles also takes that formula firmly in hand — but only to turn it squarely on its head. While the double bass is still present, the rest of the band is reversed: a single guitar and three violins. Both harmonically and rhythmically, the polyphonic composition of the group provides the improviser with a subtle but stimulating accompaniment, while the contrasting personalities of the three violinists offers a kaleidoscopic range of styles, moods, and shades of swing.

The group is led by the incomparable Tcha Limberger, a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist carrying on the tradition of his own storied family of Sinti musicians. Over our two decades, Tcha has joined us as much as any other European musician, and more than most. Les Violons is, in fact, the only full European group we have ever invited back for an encore performance. This final set of our 20th anniversary concerts offers you an opportunity to see, and hear, why.