Summer Arts Preview

A few good picks for a hot summer

Wednesday, June 04, 2014
Valley Advocate

Les Doigts

Every June for a decade-plus, Northampton has filled up with musicians, most in Hawaiian shirts and toting funny-looking guitars. They migrate in for the annual homage to “jazz manouche” called Django in June. That festival is one of only a handful in North America that are magnets for European Gypsy jazz talents of the highest order, and also includes a very friendly camp for those who want to learn—from those same high-caliber musicians—about the style made famous by Django Reinhardt.

This year’s roster is particularly impressive. The Friday, June 20 show features Latcho Drom, a group founded by Christophe Lartilleux (pictured). Lartilleux comes from a Gypsy circus family, and grew up traveling with the circus. He began Latcho Drom in 1993, making him a standard bearer in what has, in the past decade or so, become a full-blown revival of Django’s style. The night also features Samson Schmitt, one of several well-respected jazz manouche musicians from the Schmitt family. Schmitt is joined by Dutch violinist Tim Kliphuis. On Saturday, June 21, the cleverly named Les Doigts de l’Homme take the stage—that moniker, which means “the fingers of man,” is a clever pun on Les Droits de l’Homme, the famous “Rights of Man.” These high-strung, flamboyant purveyors of Gypsy jazz come to Northampton on the heels of a major musical victory, having secured the closing spot on the main stage at the most important of all Django festivals in Samois-sur-Seine, France.

Latcho Drom, Samson Schmitt with Tim Kliphuis: June 20; Les Doigts de l’Homme, June 21: both shows 7:30 p.m., $25/advance, $30/door, Academy of Music, 274 Main St., Northampton, djangoinjune.com.

—James Heflin