- Chicago’s premier gypsy-jazz band (music of Django Reinhardt) -
The group plays the 1930s-style music of guitarist Django Reinhardt. 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.
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 Rafael Riqueni. At the Iridium in New York, Les Paul invited Alfonso to play as a special guest with his trio.
It was a great concert. The musicians were very schooled in the gypsy music and you could tell they are playing this music for a long time. It was a good gypsy night and the Green Mill is an amazing place for a concert, small and nice dark venue with a great sound. I really enjoyed my first real concert in Chicago. The music was good and they did several sets which is nice. Gipsy meeting jazz was interesting to see! Thanks gipsy kings it was a great night!