Montana Manouche began in 2012, when bluegrass musicians Ray Padilla (rhythm guitar) and Nancy Padilla (violin) from Bozeman, started getting together to play Gypsy Jazz tunes with Livingston jazz guitarist Dave Sullivan. Their casual “just for fun” jamming led to local gigs. They became passionate about playing the style, attending many Gypsy Jazz events and workshops.
Because this type of jazz started mostly in France, it was called “manouche jazz” or “jazz manouche.” It zeroes in on the repertoire of famed Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt and French jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli, who together formed the popular Hot Club of France in the ’30s.
These Montana purveyors of the genre know how to play it, too. Now a quartet, with Bozeman jazz bassist Mike Carey adding his great groove to the group’s swinging sound, Montana Manouche enjoys an increasingly active performing schedule, playing concerts, private events, and swing dances. They play a few original tunes, but their repertoire consists mainly of the compositions of Django Reinhardt and his American contemporaries.
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