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Take Five With Ameranouche

AAJ Staff By

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Meet Ameranouche: The award winning Ameranouche trio features the melodic virtuosity of guitarist Richard Sheppard, the vehement rhythm chops of guitarist Ryan Flaherty and the dulcet low end of upright bassist Xar Adelberg. Together, this rip-roaring ensemble is a super force of hot acoustic jazz, sometimes referred to as hot swing or Gypsy jazz. The contrast of other influences like American Soul music, Flamenco and Bop are what give the fast fingered trio such a recognizable sound. All played on acoustic instruments, the music is rhythmic, vigorous and strangely elegant. It's hard to believe only three people are creating such a big sound.

Ameranouche formed in 2004 and has played venues from the prestigious JVC Newport Jazz Festival and Djangofest Northwest, to busking and club gigs throughout New England, the Mid Atlantic and the South, including tours through Midwest and Southern regions.

Ameranouche continues to embrace the Gypsy muse that helped breathe life into the trios first album, Homage A Manouche. Original gypsy jazz tunes and catchy, acoustic melodies that grabbed the attention of movie producers, magazine editors and major festival circuits. Three original songs from the band's debut album "Homage A Manouche" are featured in National Lampoon's feature film "Beach Party at the Threshold of Hell." The group was also awarded Best of New Hampshire 2008 by New Hampshire Magazine. A recent highlight for Ameranouche was opening for Herbie Hancock and Sonny Rollins at the 2008 JVC Newport Jazz Festival held last August. The trio received a standing ovation at Newport, one of the oldest jazz festivals in history.

Instrument(s):

2 acoustic selmer guitars and upright bass.

Teachers and/or influences?

Django Reinhardt, Pat Martino, Stochelo Rosenberg, Bireli Lagrene, George Benson, Wes Montgomery, Louis Armstrong.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

When I heard Chet Atkins on the am radio.

Your sound and approach to music:

Our sound is rooted from gypsy jazz, but since we are not gypsies, our approach towards gypsy jazz is rooted from american jazz, folk and other idioms.

Your teaching approach:

Learn from your students and this will allow you to teach them better, keep yourself open.

Your dream band:

We would like to work with a countless list of artists, but some to mention would be The Rosenberg Trio, Paco De Lucia or Al Di Meola.

Road story: Your best or worst experience:

We have some funny stories but most are too long. I do recall the concert we played in Schroon Lake, there was a huge storm that summer day, and all the power was wiped out before the concert... we played the entire show in candle light, and the sold out audience waved flashlights around. It was one of the best performances we ever had. We jumped off the stage and just played the entire show in the dark, right there on the floor, the audience moved chairs and circled around us. It was fantastic.

Favorite venue:

That is a hard one. We have played several great venues. One of our favorites was the JVC Newport Jazz Festival. It was just super cool to be there with all those great musicians. We had our own trailer and backstage passes to all the other artists. It was amazing.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

Awake... we had complete control over the production unlike our first album, Homage A Manouche, which was very difficult to get done, but we did.

The first Jazz album I bought was:

John Coltrane.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

Original music with a gypsy jazz approach mixed with American, or more specifically Philly soul. And our live shows are intense.

Did you know...

Did you know we just got picked up by Charisma Artist Agency...

CDs you are listening to now:

Robin Nolan—Travels

The Rosenberg Trio—North Sea Jazz Festival

Desert Island picks:

I don't know what this is.

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

Jazz is not popular enough. Pretty much it seems like today jazz can be anything.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?

Keep creating and moving towards new ideas, and don't forget who came before you.

What is in the near future?

We are planning a tour for the spring... and a new CD is underway!

By Day:

Teaching.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:

National Park Forest Ranger.

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