ZAZU began in December of 2004 in Flagstaff with Lake and Larry Czarnecki on guitars, Steve Douglas on bass. All in the spirit of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, masters of the gypsy swing style in Paris 1930-1950. Over the years we’ve added Allen Ames, violin/ guitar, Devon Bridgewater, violin/trumpet, Jeff Quamo, clarinet, Joe Garcia, percussion and Stan Sorenson as guests on our CDs or live in concert. Mike Fowler and Ryan Vance joined in 2014 to round out the ‘southern’ version of ZAZU.
We continue to perform all over AZ and are the only group playing this style. We released a double CD in 2009, The Soul of Paris and are just Gypsy jazz, Manouche jazz, Django jazz, Gypsy swing….call it what you will, it has then same unforgettable ingredients; infectious swing, melancholy highlights and improvisation with reckless abandon.
Most notable of the day was a virtuoso Belgian born gypsy, Django Reinhardt. His greatest contribution were the many Quintets of then Hot Club of France. Hot clubs being the place to hear the ‘hot music’ of the time. The Quintets featured 2 rhythm guitars providing ‘Le Pump’, the heavy rhythmical accents on 2 and 4 in swing. Upright bass and violin and sometimes clarinet rounded out the section with Django front and center at his virtuosic best.