SWING RIOTS 1In a Benefit Concert for FolkWorks

July 17th 2011  at 2 PM
at the
Tropico de Nopal Gallery, in Los Angeles,
1665 Beverly Boulevard, East of Alvarado

Swing Riots is an LA Jazz Gypsy Balkan Klezmer Folk ensemble with six versatile fully digitized members who recreate the brilliant music of two-finger Belgian Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt— quite a feat, in that it takes them only sixty fingers to accomplish what Django did with two. Perhaps that’s why the word genius is so often found within two syllables of Reinhardt’s legendary name.

But if you close your eyes, it hardly matters; you can drift back in time to the sweltering erotic nights of Paris’s Left Bank in the 1930s, when Reinhardt was remaking the landscape of modern Jazz, and having to relearn the guitar after suffering major burns in a 1928 fire that changed his life and modern music forever. Without the use of the third and fourth fingers on his left hand he played everything with just the two he had—and that proved to be enough.

The Swing Riots perform an irreverent gumbo of Gypsy & Creole Jazz, Klezmer & Romanian Horas, Parisian Musette & the occasional wild card thrown in for good measure.  The Swing Riots are comprised of 6 core members who have played for decades in everything from Balkan dance bands to traditional Swing groups including: Bill Marks: Guitar & Voice; Pat Mac Swyney: Mando-Guitar, Tenor Banjo, Mandolin, Cornet, Ney, Harmonica & Voice; Linda Kodaira: Violin; Nick Casillas: Clarinet & Soprano Sax;Ben Getting: Upright Bass.

Ed Pearl has done a bit of his own reshaping of the musical landscape of Los Angeles, as the creator of the legendary folk music club The Ash Grove in 1958, and had Django Reinhardt not passed away in 1953, he would surely have graced the Ash Grove stage as well, along with Muddy Waters, Bill Monroe, the New Lost City Ramblers, The Greenbriar Boys, Phil Ochs, Mance Libscomb, Lightning Hopkins, Flatt and Scruggs, Mississippi John Hurt, Jackie DeShannon and Ry Cooder.

Now Ed has embarked on a new venture, catching up with lost time as it were, and will present Swing Riots in his new summer concert series sponsored by Ash Grove Music (www.ashgrovemusic.com).

It will be a doubly special event, since it is a benefit concert for FolkWorks, LA’s free and only folk music magazine, now in its tenth year of continuous publication, covering the waterfront of LA’s sometimes bewildering variety of folk related solo performers, dance and instrumental groups and festivals, as well as national touring artists that come through town.

FolkWorks (www.folkworks.org) was just honored this past May with the Topanga Banjo-Fiddle Contest Music Legend Award for 2011, and needs the influx of funds from this extraordinary concert to keep the presses rolling, as it tries valiantly to beat the odds that have made magazine publishing a quixotic and oft-times heroic endeavor.

So support the Ash Grove, support FolkWorks, and enjoy an unparalleled afternoon of world music from the Lost Generation that these wonderful Los Angeles musicians have rediscovered, mastered and made their own. For this musical experience of a lifetime Swing Riots will be joined by vocal duet Jess Basta & Christine Tavares, formerly of VOCO in a variety of Yiddish and early jazz standards. Don’t you dare miss it!
–Ross Altman