Alfonso Ponticelli and Swing Gitan
1. Blues Clair (Django Reinhardt) For Michelle, a very special thanks for all her love and support. She always has a way of keeping the Blues Light.
2. Lito's Place (Alfonso Ponticelli) Thanks to my good friend Lito Manlucu. He has been on the Romany trail with me to Samois, France to see Django's home, and he has helped so much in keeping the music alive and the fire burning here in Chicago.
3. Annie-Zette (Francois, Parisi) Dedicated to my father Paul Ponticelli. A song I think he would have liked and a nice Italian drink we shared once on a very memorable ship in Mexico.
4. The Sheik of Araby (Wheeler, Smith, Snyder) For all the Lebanese family, Grandma Minnie, Carlo, Ermelinda, Kathleen -- You know who you are. This is my favorite!
5. Valse Manouche (Traditional) A true renaissance man and a wonderful person, I thank Johnny Frigo for his inspiration and artistry. His violin truly sings on this track.
6. Djembe (Alfonso Ponticelli) A special thanks to my friend Felipe Lopez, an incredible flamenco guitarist. He has helped spark the Spanish gypsy in so many people. This song is loosely based on a traditional flamenco form, Buleria.
7. I'Te Vurria Vassa (Rubbo, DiCapua) A special thanks to my sister Elvira Ponticelli for sharing her voice with us, an inspiring singer and a beautiful person. We look forward to recording lots more together.
8. Minor Details (Alfonso Ponticelli) Thanks to all the students I have had the pleasure of teaching all about the minor details of this mysterious God-given gift we call Music. A special thanks to Chris Belda (Kiki) for all his help and inspiration. Another song composed in France.
9. Ballade for Jessy (Jacques Garcia) Thanks to Jacques Garcia for such a beautiful song. It was fun breaking a string with you, Jacques, maybe I will make it to France and see you again.
10. For Luna (Alfonso Ponticelli) Thanks to Luna and Kevin for making my trip to France magical. This was a song written in Strasbourg, France home of the international gypsy festival.
11. Kali Sara (Dorado Schmitt) There is a big Gypsy holiday/festival in the south of France in honor of this saint that takes place at the end of May: Saintes-Maries de la Mer. Some day the members of Swing Gitan hopes to make this journey.
12. Harlem Nocturne (Earle Hagen) A special thanks to my friend Lee Marconi for spending so many late nights mixing and mastering the CD.
13. Mouse Trap/E Minor Tancak (Alfonso Ponticelli/Traditional) In honor of the memory of one of the world's greatest mandolin players, Dave Peters. Three-time national mandolin champion and big time inspiration to many. He will be missed. Dave recorded this song on his CD "Art in America".
About Swing Gitan
Alfonso Ponticelli and Swing Gitan is Chicago's premier gypsy-jazz band.
The group plays the 1930s-style music of guitarist Django Reinhardt -- foot-tappin' swing played on acoustic instruments. It's a blend of the jubilant swing of early jazz with the feisty passion of gypsy music, plus a strong dose of guitar pyrotechnics and virtuosic improvisation.
Formed in 2001, Swing Gitan features bandleader Alfonso Ponticelli on lead guitar and a world-class lineup of musicians on violin, rhythm guitar and upright bass, with the occasional special guest. Over the years, they've played with many of the great contemporary gypsy-jazz players from around the world, including Bireli Lagrène, Stochelo Rosenberg, Moreno, Angelo DeBarre and the Robin Nolan Trio.
Around Chicago, Swing Gitan plays frequently at the Green Mill and Pops for Champagne. They've also played at the Chicago Cultural Center, the Field Museum, the Terra Museum of American Art, the Chicago Jazz Festival and the Chicago Summerdance Festival -- and they had the honor of performing at Millennium Park on its opening night.
Alfonso has studied gypsy-jazz music for more than a decade, having traveled several times to the annual Django Reinhardt festival in France. He introduced gypsy-jazz to Chicago in the 1990s, when he began teaching a weekly Django-style class at the renowned Old Town School of Folk Music, and he is often invited to teach his popular workshops at festivals around the country. A multi-instrumentalist, he won the 1994 U.S. National Mountain Dulcimer Championship and plays both banjo and guitar with the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. He's also a gypsy flamenco guitarist, having been to Cordoba, Spain, to study with the great flamenco guitarist Vicente Amigo. At the Iridium in New York, Les Paul invited Alfonso to play as a special guest with his trio.