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: Beethoven Festival, Merit School of Music Sept 10, 14, 2013 by Elliot Mandel @Cello_guy Three quarters of the way through their set of South American music with accordionist Julien Labro at the Merit School of Music Saturday evening, the members of the Spektral Quartet lean back and put down their instruments – violinist Aurelien Pederzoli takes a seat in the front row. Labro begins a meandering improvisation before launching into a rollicking cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely” on solo squeezebox. In a small way, this is the magic of the 2013 Beethoven Festival. The audience – some seated around the quintet, some leaning against the bar, at least one listener lounges in the tepee in the far corner – is entranced by the music and ensconced in floor-to-ceiling artwork. Wait, why is an accordionist playing Stevie Wonder at something called the Beethoven Festival? Who cares. “Music is music,” said Alban Berg to George Gershwin (thanks Alex Ross). No ensemble in Chicago embodies this idea more than the Spektral Quartet, which regularly programs Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven alongside the ensemble’s contemporaries such as Marcos Balter and Chris Fisher-Lochhead. Read the full review here
Can't wait to continue my collaboration with Spektral Quartet, we have some dates coming up this Summer & Fall and recording a CD in late September.
Nadir Khashimov, violin
Jason Vieaux, guitar
John-Henry Crawford, cello
Performed on Sunday, January 27, 2013
Gould Rehearsal Hall, Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia
Throughout his career, Argentine composer and bandoneón virtuoso Ástor Piazzolla redefined the traditional tango with his new style of composition known as nuevo tango, which incorporate elements of classical and jazz. Among his prolific output, Oblivion remains one of his most popular works. Composed in 1982 for chamber ensemble, the piece has seen numerous arrangements and transcriptions over the years. In this arrangement for guitar, violin, and cello by Julien Labro, an already hauntingly beautiful piece is made even more intimate.
Review by J Hunter Photographs by Rudy Lu Some music just needs to be seen in a small space. For instance, even though Troy Savings Bank Music Hall was acoustically perfect for Hot Club of San Francisco, both the band and the music seemed “too small for the room” during their appearance last year. In comparison, Hot Club of Detroit’s show at the Van Dyck Restaurant & Lounge last Friday night (February 1) was not just perfectly wonderful – it was also perfectly scaled. Maybe the Van Dyck’s concert space is a loft instead of a basement, and it may also be a non-smoking environment, but a band and its sound has never seemed more at home. Here is the full review
Accordionist and composer Julien Labro and member of the band Hot Club of Detroit, spent some time talking with me about his life and music career and his rare choice of instrument—the accordion. Labro shares the band’s desire to pay tribute to the late, great European jazz guitarist, Django Reinhardt in their latest release on Mack Avenue Records, Junction. The album also features the avant-garde sound of Ornette Coleman, blended with the acoustic grooves of Pat Metheny. The sound is bold and modern as he explains in our interview.
Here is a review from our concert in Winnipeg with Hot Club of Detroit, Chris Smith from the Winnipeg Free Press had some really nice comments. The Hot Club of Detroit is a tight, tight band that swings like crazy through its brand of Gypsy jazz paying tribute to the great guitarist Django Reinhardt. The five-piece band -- rhythm and lead guitars, bass, accordion and tenor sax -- was augmented by the great Brooklyn-based French singer Cyrille Aimée in its shows as part of the Izzy Asper Jazz Performances series. From the get-go, lead guitarist Evan Perri and rhythm guitarist Paul Brady were locked into a groove that drove the band through two great sets Saturday afternoon, the first of two concerts that day. That familiar driving force that marked Reinhardt's style was both a vehicle unto itself and the basis for an afternoon and great ensemble and solo work along with bassist Shawn Conley, accordion player Julien Labro and saxophonist Jon Irabagon. ...Labro plays the chromatic accordion with the style and verve of a rock musician...Read the full review here
Guitarist Jason Vieaux and bandoneónist Julien Labro play music that breaks genre boundaries in the Fraser Performance Studio. Listen to the interview with Cathy Fuller on WBGH Boston. Listen here