Pearl Django performs Jan. 13 at Collective Visions

Pearl Django incorporates the music of hot jazz guitar pioneer Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli with American swing music.                               - Pearl Django / Contributed
Pearl Django incorporates the music of hot jazz guitar pioneer Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli with American swing music.
— image credit: Pearl Django / Contributed

BREMERTON — Pearl Django, one of America’s most respected and busiest Hot Club Jazz-style groups, performs Jan. 13, 7-9 p.m., at Collective Visions Gallery, 331 Pacific Ave., Bremerton.

Tickets are $20 in advance, $24 on the day of the concert. Call 377-8327.

The YWCA of Kitsap County is event co-sponsor.

Pearl Django, now in their 16th year, have performed all across America, in Canada, France and Iceland.

Strongly influenced by their namesake, hot jazz guitar pioneer Django Reinhardt (1910-1953), Pearl Django’s repertoire now includes many original compositions that transcend simple categorization.

Their music reaches out across the divides of taste to a wide variety of audiences. The band’s fervent followers include fans of Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli, lovers of string music, bluegrass devotees, guitar enthusiasts, world music fans drawn to French and Gypsy accents, jazz buffs and aficionados of new swing music. Pearl Django packs in enthusiastic audiences at dancehalls and nightclubs, at folk music festivals and jazz festivals.

Pearl Django was voted Favorite Area Jazz Band in 2003 by readers of Seattle Weekly, which wrote, “Pearl Django play(s) gypsy jazz … and they do it with such verve, skill and pleasure that they’re pretty much irresistible to jazz and non-jazz listeners alike.”

A reviewer for wrote of the group’s album “Under Paris Skies,” “If Paris is the city of love, then Pearl Django’s music is the flirtatious accompaniment.”

Pearl Django is Troy Chapman, guitar; Michael Gray, violin; Ryan Hoffman, guitar; David Lange, accordion; and Rick Leppanen, bass.

The group’s inception was as a trio in Tacoma in 1994. The focus of Pearl Django was, and is, to incorporate the music of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli with American swing music. They quickly expanded to a quintet, adding a violinist and a third guitarist.

An interview on NPR’s “All Things Considered” in 2001 brought the group to national attention. In June 2002, Pearl Django performed at the prestigious Festival Django Reinhardt in Samois sur Seine, just outside Paris, France. As of 2007, Pearl Django is working as both a quartet and a quintet (with accordionist Lange). All of the members are contributing original compositions to the band’s expansive repertoire.

They have released nine CDs to date.

For more information, visit


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