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.
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
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.
Julien Labro talks about the accordion, bandoneón and his upcoming concert, part of the 92Y at SubCulture series. The NewYorker & the New York Times both picked it as part of their Fall preview so come and join us on Oct. 8th at 7:30 pm @ SubCulture.
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.