Who would have expected the accordion to sound so…

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


Recent Review from the Boston Musical Intelligencer

Concert Review: Praise for Fresh Ways with Vieaux and Labro


Rounds of praise are due a brand new duo that made its Boston debut last night at The Roxbury Latin School. Guitarist Jason Vieaux and accordionist Julien Labro each revealed remarkable levels of individual artistry, and the chemistry between them openly and fully communicated. These along with other elements conspired to bring about that ideal situation where we find ourselves completely engaged, where we find ourselves not just being shown the way, but discover ourselves being a very part of learning along the way. Vieaux and Labro are Artists-in-Residence at Roxbury Latin.

Both Vieaux and Labro refreshed the often staid concert stage with uncommon graciousness, the kind of which comes from an unassuming nature both rare and welcome. Their amply appreciating their listeners as much as their making music together sets the duo’s mien apart from today’s common classical practices of performance. They love what they do and the audience finds itself very much a part of that joy. Labro’s way of putting it last night: “we are thankful to be playing before a small and intimate crowd who knows how to listen.”

Read the entire review here


Preview of Labro’s appearance with Detroit Symphony Orchestra

Brazilian jazz, Mussorgsky on DSO bill

By Lawrence B. Johnson

Exotic Brazilian jazz in a lush symphonic setting awaits patrons of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s third annual weekend of outdoor concerts at the Edsel and Eleanore Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores.

Friday night’s Brazilian fare gives way Saturday to a classical program featuring Mendelssohn’s “Italian” Symphony and works by Bizet, Rimsky-Korsakov and Mussorgsky. Both concerts will be conducted by Carolyn Kuan, music director of the Hartford (Conn.) Symphony…..

Sharing Friday’s solo spotlight will be Julien Labro, a French-born Detroiter and master of the accordion-like bandoneon. Metro jazz buffs know Labro, a graduate of Wayne State University, as co-leader of the Django Reinhardt-inspired Hot Club of Detroit.

Labro says he got hooked on the bandoneon the first time he heard the instrument as a boy in France…..

Read the full Detroit News article here


Labro featured on Grammy-award winning vocalist Cassandra Wilson’s Another…

Genre defying vocalist Cassandra Wilson’s latest album, Another Country, represents a strong departure from her previous material focusing largely on guitar-oriented sounds. To foster this new musical direction she again collaborated with jazz guitarist/producer Fabrizio Sotti, with whom she worked with on 2002’s Glamoured.

The two started from scratch in Wilson’s New Orleans home studio composing arrangements and an entire album’s worth of material by combining her lyrics with Sotti’s guitar-centric instrumentation. Sotti says “She is a total and complete musician/artist not just an outstanding voice/instrument.” Wilson and Sotti moved the sessions to Florence, Italy where they sought to keep the recordings spare by working with a minimalist band. The group includes Mino Cinelu on percussion, accordion master Julien Labro, Italian bass player Nicola Sorato and African master percussionist Lekan Babalola which rounded out the album’s sound.

Continue reading and buy here


The Big Squeeze @ Northwestern University

A once in a lifetime gathering of accordion and bandoneon virtuosos explores music from Bach and Weber to jazz, blues and Zydeco, including an all-hands-on-deck breakdown of a polka. Featured musicians include Julien Labro from France; Alexander Sevastian from Russia; Jimmy Keane from Chicago; and Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers from New Orleans. Labro was joined by Spektral String Quartet, saxophonist Jon Irabagon, and special guest Victor GoinesThe Big Squeeze concert was part of the Bienen School of Music Spring Festival titled “Soundings: Celebrating Singular Voices In Music”.

Video of the concert is streamed here


An Interesting Review from Recent Performance at the Jazz…

By Stewart Oksenhorn / The Aspen Times
Review: Why jazz actually ruled at the Jazz Aspen June Festival
JULY, 8 2011 

ASPEN — I don’t generally go to music festivals looking for any big-picture messages. I go to hear the music, to take photos, to commune with people. And yes, to eat. 

But sometimes, there is a message so apparent that it can’t be ignored. Such was the case with the recent Jazz Aspen Snowmass June Festival, and the message that was shoved in the face of festivalgoers was this: It’s the jazz, stupid!


Julien Labro & Paul Brady from HCOD on Wine…

By Jonathan Widran

Both Labro and Brady attribute their love of wine to spending key developmental years in France. Labro grew up in Rodez, near the Languedoc-Roussillon wine region (which boasts three times the combined area of vineyards in Bordeaux) and began learning about pairing food and wine from a tender age. “I got to live the pairings and learn how the right wine can enhance a dish and bring different flavors to the palate.”  Continue to read a longer extract of the article here