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RIP Nick Lehr

StringswingerStringswinger Santa Cruz and San Francisco, CA✭✭✭✭ 1993 Dupont MD-20
The founder of Djangofest passed away yesterday. Nick did a lot for Gypsy jazz in North America. He will be missed, but not forgotten. RiP
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  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Elan 14 - Altamira M10
    Posts: 104
    This is very sad news. Djangofest NW was one of my first introductions into the scene back in ~2002. He had a great vision for bringing the scene he saw in Europe back home to the States. He worked hard to expand it to other places in the country too besides just Whidbey Island and I'm grateful for what he accomplished.

    Requiescat in pace
    Buco
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,773
    So sad to hear this. People take for granted how much Gypsy jazz there is in the US now, but turn the clock back to 2000 and there was pretty well nothing. Nick changed all that with DjangoFest. RIP.....
  • pmgpmg ATHERTON, CANew Dupont
    Posts: 82
    Nick was not only a close friend and occasional jamming buddy, he was a passionate leader and visionary that helped many of us find each other and further develop our musical passions. Hope he is introducing Django and his group at a nice venue somewhere above.
    I'm always interested in jamming with experienced jazz and gypsy jazz players in the San Francisco - San Jose area. Drop me a line. Bass players welcome!
  • Nick was a man with a big heart. I first got to know him in 2005 sponsoring a young mandolinist to a camp in California. Nick was organizing part of that. He has done much for our community and will be missed. My condolences to his family.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,240
    So sad to hear this... ... turn the clock back to 2000 and there was pretty well nothing. Nick changed all that with DjangoFest. RIP.....

    True true. It was a different landscape entirely and Nick brought the spark of the Samois flame across the ocean. Rhythm Future is putting out its new album and seeing the announcement, I said to my wife, something like: "This is sort of wild, but do you realize we have 3 musical generations of talent in the US now. "Max, son of Gonzalo, grandson of John... is putting out a new album. How did that happen so quickly?" She replied: "Good people doing what they love -- make things happen."

    Many thanks to the grand gent who did what he loved, and to whom we owe much gratitude. Rest well, Nick.

    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,691
    That is sad news. My sincere condolences to his family. RIP.
  • Ted GottsegenTed Gottsegen Rowayton, CTModerator
    Posts: 611
    Nick and I had a huge falling out and hadn’t spoke for almost 10 years. I was recovering from my own near-death experience and had heard of how sick he was so I reached out to bury the hatchet and I’m glad I did. I wouldn’t wish my worst enemy to have to go through what he did. I’m glad that he passed as peacefully as he died with Django’s music in his ears.

    To be fair, I can’t comment on post-2006 Nick Lehr, but between 2001-2006 I (and many others) can tell you that he was not the benevolent tireless promoter of this music and champion of the independent musician that some are making him out to be. He was a shady promoter out to make as much money as possible so he didn’t have to get up and go to work everyday and he did that by underpaying and holding serious, dedicated and hard working musicians to ransom. A very famous European musician refused to go on until he was paid everything, in cash, before he walked out on stage because of questionable accounting. Another time at a private party in a house a famous European musician walked into what he thought was a bathroom but was actually a set-up to record the concert. He had not be asked permission, nor offered compensation until he refused to play.

    He would “guarantee” your fee for playing and usually come up with only half to 2/3’rds and mumbling some vague response as to how he’ll get you the rest of the money as he shuffled off. If you tried to call him out on it he’s say something like “well I can get so-and-so to do it for free so why should I pay you?” When I did the Djangofest tour Andreas, Kruno and Stéphane’s trio he told me to hold onto all my receipts for expenses (driving from Seattle to Laguna Beach and back again) and when I presented them after the tour he looked me right in the eye and said “I don’t remember having that conversation with you. Sorry.” So I wrote off the $500+ loss to “cost of doing business” and moved on. It was a very important lesson that I’d have had to learn at some point, the business of music. In the end I forgave Nick for becoming consumed by power.

    I owe many of my early professional successes and more importantly my professional failures to the opportunities Nick gave me. They are lessons that I’ll always be appreciative of and thankful for.

    RIP Nick....
  • StringswingerStringswinger Santa Cruz and San Francisco, CA✭✭✭✭ 1993 Dupont MD-20
    Posts: 386
    Nick and I had a huge falling out and hadn’t spoke for almost 10 years. I was recovering from my own near-death experience and had heard of how sick he was so I reached out to bury the hatchet and I’m glad I did. I wouldn’t wish my worst enemy to have to go through what he did. I’m glad that he passed as peacefully as he died with Django’s music in his ears.

    To be fair, I can’t comment on post-2006 Nick Lehr, but between 2001-2006 I (and many others) can tell you that he was not the benevolent tireless promoter of this music and champion of the independent musician that some are making him out to be. He was a shady promoter out to make as much money as possible so he didn’t have to get up and go to work everyday and he did that by underpaying and holding serious, dedicated and hard working musicians to ransom. A very famous European musician refused to go on until he was paid everything, in cash, before he walked out on stage because of questionable accounting. Another time at a private party in a house a famous European musician walked into what he thought was a bathroom but was actually a set-up to record the concert. He had not be asked permission, nor offered compensation until he refused to play.

    He would “guarantee” your fee for playing and usually come up with only half to 2/3’rds and mumbling some vague response as to how he’ll get you the rest of the money as he shuffled off. If you tried to call him out on it he’s say something like “well I can get so-and-so to do it for free so why should I pay you?” When I did the Djangofest tour Andreas, Kruno and Stéphane’s trio he told me to hold onto all my receipts for expenses (driving from Seattle to Laguna Beach and back again) and when I presented them after the tour he looked me right in the eye and said “I don’t remember having that conversation with you. Sorry.” So I wrote off the $500+ loss to “cost of doing business” and moved on. It was a very important lesson that I’d have had to learn at some point, the business of music. In the end I forgave Nick for becoming consumed by power.

    I owe many of my early professional successes and more importantly my professional failures to the opportunities Nick gave me. They are lessons that I’ll always be appreciative of and thankful for.

    RIP Nick....

    I have had a very different experience. I played at many Djangofests and Nick always kept his word with me and those I played with. I performed with Bruce Forman, Mimi Fox and Larry Coryell at several Djangofests and all of those jazz guitar luminaries were treated fairly and paid what was due.

    While I would not presume to challenge Ted's experiences with Nick, I do think that this was a highly inappropriate time to air this "dirty laundry".

    Jojo
  • Ted GottsegenTed Gottsegen Rowayton, CTModerator
    Posts: 611
    Hi Marc,
    [

    I have had a very different experience. I played at many Djangofests and Nick always kept his word with me and those I played with. I performed with Bruce Forman, Mimi Fox and Larry Coryell at several Djangofests and all of those jazz guitar luminaries were treated fairly and paid what was due.

    While I would not presume to challenge Ted's experiences with Nick, I do think that this was a highly inappropriate time to air this "dirty laundry".

    [/quote]

    I’m curious as to what was inappropriate about respectfully expressing and sharing my memories and experiences with a man that I’d given a lot of my time, assistance, guidance and support to during the first few years of this festival. I was also sharing that I was happy that we were able to clear the air before he died.

    At the end of he day he was a just like me: a good person, imperfect, but he did the best he could. I’m guessing that the aberrant behaviour disappeared once contracts became part of the show.

    Best,

    Ted
  • StringswingerStringswinger Santa Cruz and San Francisco, CA✭✭✭✭ 1993 Dupont MD-20
    Posts: 386
    Ted, if attacking the character of a man who has just died, and therefore cannot rebut your assertions, does not strike you as inappropriate, I am afraid I will be unable to satisfy your curiosity.

    I did my business with Nick on a handshake basis at Mill Valley and Laguna Beach and the first couple of Langley shows that I did. Afterwards, the Langley shows had a written contract, but from my point of view, that was unnecessary. My handshake is a binding contract and my experience with Nick was that his was too.
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