Acoustic Guitar Magazin (Usa) David McCarty
The debut CD of Samson Schmitt, son of Gypsy jazz guitarist Dorado Schmitt, proves conclusively that la pomme never falls far from l'arbre. Filled with speedy guitar improvisations powered by youthful exuberance, Djieske showcases a rising young star backed by some of the best players in the genre, including Schmitt's widely admired father on second lead and rhythm guitar. Mixing great classic tunes like "Pent-Up House," "Donna Lee," and "Melodie au Crepuscule" with such fine originals as "Entre Nous" and the title track, this CD gives the younger Schmitt ample room to show off his energetic guitar style.
Jazz Magazine January and May 2003 (France) Claude Oberg
Only 23 years old, Samson Schmitt signs his first album with a guest who plays on three tracks: his father, Dorado, an outstanding guitarist and a violinist whose reputation is already made for those you know the style (note his participation to Tony Gatlif’s film: Latcho Drom). In the purest gipsy swing’s aesthetics, he proposes a program with some of Django’s compositions such as Micro and Mélodie au Crépuscule, on which Dorado is fiercely inventive and bursts out devilishly fast chops. There are also standards: one from Parker - Donna Lee -, the other from Rollins - Pent-up House – both subtly interpreted. Finally, you will get a chance to listen to attractive compositions from the leader or his bandmates, the latter remarkably chorusing on the tunes. You will appreciate the fluidity and cohesion of the rhythm section, as well as the novelty given to the harmony of the arrangements, which generate rich and subtle atmospheres. From swing to waltzes, to bossa nova, we get a wonderful music, perfect translation of this promising calling card: ‘qui vient du coeur’ (‘from the heart’).
Jazzman January 2003 (France) Alain Tercinet
Gipsy swing is a paradox in the sense that it is as reassuring as surprising. Security comes from Django’s influence that leads artists to play tunes from his repertoire over and over again – Mélodie au Crépuscule and Micro, aka Mike. At the same time, the constant come out of new musicians into the ‘gipsy swing’ circle, all of them amazingly talented is surprising. However, Samson Schmitt’s case is not a surprise by any means: he could only have been wrapped into a beneficial atmosphere when he was a child since he was ‘Dorado’s son’ (you should listen to their duet on Paris under the rain…). But, fortunately, he also dug George Benson, Sylvain Luc or Bireli Lagrene! The permanent renewal of a style that one could consider as concealed in its own idiosyncrasies, is also remarkable: Donna Lee or Pent-up House – one of Grapelli’s favourites – stand as two clever covers. Compositions contribute to the freshness of the album. New York in November , Le Rêve d’un soir, Amati are Dorado Schmitt’s originals, For Smilia is Mehrstein’s, Jean-Louis Winterstein wrote Swing for Jinny and Samson himself brought three of his tunes: Stan, Djieske and Entre nous. We are serenely waiting for the next opus…
“Guitar Vintage” USA - feb. 2003 Michael DREGNI
Following the path of Django Reinhardt was a second generation of Gypsy jazz guitarists, including Django's own sons, Henri *Lousson* Baumgartner and Babik Reinhardt. Now, this generation has spawned a further generation of musicians, represented by these two new albums from Samson Schmitt, son of the well-known Gypsy guitarist Dorado Schmitt, and Dino Mehrstein, the nephew of Mandino Reinhardt.
These new albums by a new generation develop Django's music in new directions. Instead of the note-for-note aping of Django's original recordings that have been all too prevalent in the past, these CDs build on his legacy. Schmitt's album includes only two covers of compositions by Django among the fourteen tracks. Mehrstein features no Django tunes. It's a welcome development―and essential if the music is going to live and flourish.
As the son of Dorado Schmitt, Samson brings much of his father's trademarks to this first recording. Like Dorado, he has a prodigious talent, and knows his way around the fretboard with astonishing facility, speed, and grace. He also is blessed by Dorado's ear for catchy melodies in a modern vein, and it's these songs by both father and son that make this CD sing.
Samson's guitar is joined here by his father on guitar and violin as well as Hono Winterstein and Popots Winterstein on rhythm guitars and Timbo Mehrstein on violin. The lineup creates a tight, warm sound that is thoroughly modern. Samson's solos are sometimes merely mechanical, running arpeggios up and down over the changes without phrasing or meaning. But at other times, he is inspired, and tosses off stylish improvisations that foretell an exciting future.It will be fascinating to see how he develops.
Dino Mehrstein takes Django's music as a point of departure, as his album's title hints. Almost every track here is an original―and shine in their originality. His swing tunes, such as *Sortie de Route,* are based on innovative modern-sounding melodies with unexpected rhythms and syncopated phrasing.
Many of the songs ride atop Latin rhythms with percussion by Simon Pomarat and feature rhythm guitarwork by Francko Mehrstein. Dino, who is just twenty-five, is a lively soloist playing with Gypsy panache but also with a rare sensitivity for the melody and not only showy virtuoso pyrotechnics.
If Samson Schmitt and Dino Mehrstein are the future of Gypsy jazz, then that future looks bright indeed. ―