Idiomatically conversant with jazz, classical music, world music, and complimented by an unmeasured expertise of the music of Astor Piazzolla, Julien Labro has established himself as one of the leading figures of his generation on both the accordion and the bandoneón.

Review: Pushing the South American Envelope

By Bruce Hodges

Inexplicably making their New York debut—only because this cracking, Chicago-based ensemble has been in existence since 2010—the Spektral Quartet packed SubCulture for a concert celebrating its newest recording, From This Point Forward (on Azica Records). Adding to the evening’s many delights was accordionist Julien Labro (who also arrangedthe works on the album). But like many virtuosos, Labro also plays related instruments: the bandoneón and the accordina—the latter similar to a melodica, but with buttons replacing the keyboard. Continue to read the full review here

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“Chat” -Labro collaborates w/ Grammy Award Winner pianist & composer Fernando Otero

The creative connection between Fernando OTERO and Julien LABRO has taken form in their collaboration under the name of “CHAT”.

The album contains compositions by both musicians, in which improvisation plays a major role,  exploring countermelodies with their respective instruments creating a solid soundscape.

 

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Labro featured on The Sound of Applause

Dee Perry chats with Emily Anthes author of Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts who speaks Friday night at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History for the Explorer Series. Plus we share the music of local country crooners Rachel & The Beatnik Playboys who play The Stocker Center in Elyria this weekend.

Dee also welcomes back accordion master Julien Labro to the Key Bank studio for a preview of his performance at Severance Hall for The Cleveland Orchestra’s Fridays@7 series.

Check the interview & performance here

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Labro’s Residency at Oberlin Conservatory of Music

by Jarrett Hoffman

This past Thursday, October 9, Oberlin welcomed acclaimed jazz group Hot Club of Detroit for the first Performance and Improvisation (PI) guest recital of the year. Clonick Hall was packed for the occasion, all seats filled and its back wall lined with listeners. Three impressive student ensembles kicked off the evening, each of them featuring Hot Club of Detroit accordionist Julien Labro. Then, for the second half of the night, the group tore through a set full of stunning solos and duets, particularly from Labro and group founder and lead guitarist Evan Perri. Continue to the full article here

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Pablo Aslan Quintet rejuvenates the work of the great Piazzolla

By Sarah Ritzmann

Last Monday night, the Pablo Aslan Quintet performed in Brooks-Rogers Auditorium as part of the Ernest Brown World Music Series. The group, headed by Argentinian-born artist Pablo Aslan, delighted a diverse audience ranging from current students to faculty members to members of the local townsfolk with a lively tango-infused jazz. Aslan has performed and recorded with a number of prominent artists including Yo-Yo Ma, Shakira and the Philadelphia Orchestra, among many others. Aslan leads his quintet on the bass, accompanied by pianist Emilio Solla, drummer Eric Doob, Diego Urcola on trumpet and Julien Labro on the bandoneon.

…Labro also had a fantastic solo on the accordina, which is a handheld instrument that produces an even sweeter tone than the bandoneon. Labro entranced the crowd with a masterfully improvisational solo, his fingers moving seemingly at the speed of light to play frankly ridiculous sequences of notes without a single misstep. …

Full review here

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Hot Club of Detroit: Musical wizardry on display

By Debra Penberthy

On Sunday, August 10, the Hot Club of Detroit wowed the audience at the Levitt Pavilion with their absolute mastery of their craft. They seemed to bend time and melodic space with their musical wizardry, particularly of the founder/lead guitar/composer, Evan Perri and button accordion player/composer, Julien Labro. Continue the full review by following this link

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Review: San Jose Jazz Festival delivers serious fun

By David Becker

Many other jazz festivals seem to encourage the musicians to act like brain surgeons, egging on their artistic sensibilities and treating the work as high art. Not the San Jose Jazz Festival, which just wound up its 25th annual blowout.

Hot Club of Detroit: At least something in the Motor City still works! One of the least doctrinaire of the many Django Reinhardt tribute bands circling the globe, this quartet takes a more pan-European approach to its mostly original songs, not least because the usual violin spot has been replaced by accordionist Julien Labro, who turned out to be the star of the show. Lead guitarist Paul Brady was no slouch, picking out evocative and incredibly nimble leads. But Labro’s solo turns were truly heroic. And when was the last time the words “jaw-dropping accordion solo” passed anyone’s lips at jazz show? Read the full review here

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Byblos hypnotized by Khalife, orchestra, ensemble & soloists

BYBLOS, Lebanon: Oud virtuoso, vocalist and composer Marcel Khalife brought the Byblos International Festival audience to its feet Thursday evening. For more than two hours, the spectators witnessed a night of outstanding instrumental solos, performed alongside mass choral and solo voice performances and orchestral compositions.

…. Accordionist and bandoneon-player Julien Labro also delivered and absolutely hypnotizing solo. Fingers moving like the wings of a hummingbird, his eyes shut, Labro infused the evening’s music with Latino grace notes.

Full article here

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Review: Labro/Vieaux @ The Cleveland International Classical Guitar Festival

By Mike Telin
June 3, 2014

The evolution of classical guitar music continued at 7:30 when guitarist Jason Vieaux was joined by his frequent collaborator Julien Labro on bandoneón, accordion and accordina. One always hopes the final concert of a festival will be something special that sends audiences home in anticipation of the next edition and Vieaux and Labro did not disappoint.

Given the two began their musical partnership with their 2011 celebrated recording on the Azica label titled The Music of Astor Piazzolla, it was fitting for them to begin their program with a work by the father of Tango Nuevo. Composed in 1986, Histore du Tango consists of four movements that describe the evolution of Tango. Vieaux and Labro performed the first, “Bordel 1900” and the fourth, “Concert d’Aujourd’hui”.

Originally scored for flute and guitar, the piece is often performed in various instrumental combinations (guitar and bandoneón for this performance) Now for my dirty little secret: I have always hated this piece. That was, until last Sunday night. In the hands of two accomplished musicians who are well-versed in both classical and jazz, Vieaux and Labro’s performance captured the essence of Tango Nuevo. As they would throughout the evening the dynamic duo performed from one musical mind – all unison technical passages, no matter how fast, were perfectly in sync. And they were obviously having a lot of fun during some extended improvisations. Keep reading the full review here

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The next accordion star: Julien Labro

by Howard Reich
May 13, 2014

The accordion doesn’t get much respect in the United States – not since “The Lawrence Welk Show” and uncounted polka bands placed the instrument well outside the realm of chic.

Nevertheless, the glorious squeezebox holds a noble tradition in jazz, with artists such as Art Van Damme, Leon Sash, Guy Klucevsek, Richard Galliano and Astor Piazzolla (playing bandoneon) proving the instrument can convey lightning virtuosity and profound musicality as eloquently as any other.

The latest and most promising addition to this regal list is Julien Labro, whom Chicagoans have heard dispensing his wizardry in various club and concert halls but never quite the way he does in a surprisingly seductive new album, “From This Point Forward” (Azica). Playing with Chicago’s Spektral Quartet, which will celebrate the release with him Wednesday night at City Winery, Labro emerges as a triple threat: brilliant technician, poetic melodist and cunning arranger. Read the full article here.

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