Andrew Lawrence (and crew) did a fantastic job in staging Django in June this year. There were wonderful clinics and workshops by Andreas, Stephane, and Lollo Meier (these are the ones I attended; there were others as well). One of the things that struck me about each of these was the true generosity and helpfulness of each of the workshop teachers. More than vague suggestions, each clinician had a unique and thoughtful approach to their workshop.
The concerts were also stellar. Andreas and Michael made a wonderful duo for the first half of Friday night's concert. Andreas pulled out what I'm sure is just a small portion of his bag of tricks, at one point detuning both the low E and A strings to play a sort of slap-bass self-accompanient (I later thought that he should name this "Djacology"). The Stephane Wrembel trio played a firey set that can not be easily labeled as Gypsy Jazz (or anything else for that matter). Bassist Jared Engel and percussionist David Langlois pushed some boundaries (sucessfully) with their music, and I loved it.
Saturday's concert was Lollo Meier with Tim Kliphuis, Dave Kelbie, and Jared Engel playing straight ahead swinging jazz at its best. Lollo is an exceptionally graceful and melodic player, and Tim Kliphuis swings! His playing reminds me more and more of Grappelli's: not so much in specifics as in swing and charm.
And to top it off, it was great to connect with people from the list, meet some new people, and be surrounded by the ongoing jams.
I would encourage all of you to try and come next year. Northampton is a beautiful town, Smith college has a lovely campus, and the festival is a blast.
Andrew is doing something woderful here and he deserves our thanks, and our support.
Reject the null hypothesis.