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Pearl Django

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I first heard Pearl Django in 1995 at "The Jazz Cafe" .  As a frustrated guitarist I found them to be a slice of heaven.  In the style of the great Django Reinhardt, you hear three wonderful guitars chopping chords in such unison they sound as one.  Drums are absent and completely unnecessary. Then the melody peels off with a fury. Beautiful Grappelli'ish violin with a driving bass. There recorded music is clean and satisfying, but I have heard magic in Neil's improve that doesn't just mirror Django's techniques but expands on a melody with true musical genius. Dudley is equally exciting with a wonderful bluesy style. I close my eyes and wish I could chop chords with Shelley's precession and endurance. 
Keith Church (The JazzDog)
From Pearl Django's Website
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Pearl Django was formed in 1994 by Neil Andersson, Dudley Hill and David "Pope" Firman, however, the roots of the band go back farther. Neil, formerly of the Wailers, and Dudley had been playing blues and jazz as a duo together for close to four years before Pope joined and completed the early incarnation of Pearl Django. In 1995 Luthier and guitarist Michael Dunn arranged for Pearl Django to go up to Vancouver for a performance and workshop. While there the trio met Shelley Park, a former lutherie student of Dunn's and rhythm guitarist with Michael's Hot Club of Mars. Shortly thereafter, she became a member of Pearl Django and her steady, pulsating rhythm guitar combined with Pope's bass completed the band's well rounded and highly rhythmic ensemble. Note: both Neil and Shelley now play Shelley D. Park guitars in Pearl Django.

In 1995 Pearl Django recorded their debut album Le Jazz Hot. In June 1996 Neil, Dudley and Shelley headed over to famed "Django Reinhardt Festival" in Samois-Sur-Seine, the town where Django spent the last part of his life. The festival acts as a meeting place for Reinhardt fans the world over and bringing your instrument is no lighthearted affair! Some of the best Gypsy players in the world can be seen there and the level of musicianship is frighteningly high. While not a part of the festival proper, Neil, Dudley and Shelley hit some of the many jam sessions around town and were well received by many of the fans and players of Gypsy Jazz. With interviews and articles in Just Jazz Guitar and Vintage Guitar magazines, word began to spread.

In 1996 Pearl Django released the follow up to "Le Jazz Hot". With the addition of the lush and melodic playing of Michael Gray on violin, "New Metropolitan Swing" received glowing reviews from the press and strong air play on KLPU-88.5 FM, the Pacific Northwest's all jazz radio station. Just Jazz Guitar's Andy MacKenzie wrote of "New Metropolitan Swing", "This is Pearl Django's best yet and should reinforce their position of not just one of America's best 'post Django' bands, but one of the worlds best!" Also, in August of 1996 violinist, Michael Gray joined the band bringing a variety of musical influences with him. Michael is both a fan and perennial student of Stephane Grappelli's music.

In July of 1998, Pope left the group to move to Kansas City. Bassist, Rick Leppanen took his place, bringing a solid sense of swing and a strong jazz background. January 1999 brought the release of Mystery Pacific, and with that CD Pearl Django solidified it's reputation as one of the most versatile and rhythmically compelling acoustic groups playing today.

Early in 1999, Pearl Django began recording a tribute to Stephane Grappelli, a project produced by Michael Gray. The CD Souvenirs was released in May 1999 and included two tracks on which Michael was joined by the piano trio, New Stories, and another track with guitarist, Paul Sawyer and percussionist, Will Dowd.

In August of 1999, Pearl Django Incorporated it's own record label, Modern Hot Records, and immediately signed with City Hall Records, for national distribution.

Pearl Django's fifth CD, Avalon, was recorded during the summer of 2000 and released on Oct. 1, 2000 to rave reviews. The band followed up with national radio promotion in January and February, 2001 and achieved Gavin Jazz chart's top forty status for seven weeks. Also, on March 29 & 30, National Public Radio recorded an interview and performance of Pearl Django for airing on All Things Considered on May 16, 2001.