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Sacrebleu! is a Boulder-based quartet that performs an upbeat style of acoustic swing called Gypsy Jazz (or Jazz Manouche), a genre which originated in pre-war Europe by gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli of Paris.
The ensemble consists of two guitars, clarinet or violin, and upright bass. Sacrebleu! plays a variety of traditional gypsy swing songs as well as a selection of songs you are not as likely to hear among other groups in the genre….
Over the years, Don has come to like the guitar almost as much as those rare Havana cigars he sometimes smokes. It all began with a warped Silvertone acoustic his Aunt Shirley had out in the garage. Eventually, he set the unplayable hunk of driftwood on fire in the backyard, and took a few Trumpet lessons, but alas, the guitar kept coming back into his life (it was the 1960’s after all), soon in the form of a public radio broadcast of an old Django Reinhardt record.
In 1973, session man Milt Norman moved from LA to the Chicago area, to be close to the great Bahai Temple there, and Don managed to take some lessons. Though he felt both unprepared and overwhelmed, some of what he learned stuck, and if you fast forward to the present day, there’s still a guitar out in the garage somewhere: right near the ashtray! Don plays a guitar made by M. Dupont in Cognac, France …and when totally fed up, a Telecaster.
Bill started his professional music career playing in traditional jazz bands in the Denver area. In the mid-seventies, he joined the Platte River Jazz Band and performed at numerous festivals throughout the US and Canada. After 10 years the group disbanded and Bill played various festivals throughout the country with other dixieland bands until he joined a unique band called the Live Five which was a combination jazz/bluegrass band.
He continued to play festivals and venues in Europe and the US for 20 years as well as playing in traditional and mainstream jazz groups. About 5 years ago, Bill discovered the music of Django Reinhardt and began to play in various gypsy swing groups, ultimately finding his way to Sacrebleu! where he rips his meanest licks to date.
Ian Hutchison has performed in Canada, England, Argentina, Japan, and Russia. He is a freelance upright and electric bass player and educator who lives in Denver, Colorado. Ian has played with several notable jazz artists including Javon Jackson, Peter Eldridge (New York Voices), Steve Barta, David Amram, and Darrell Grant. He has also performed with Darol Anger, Tony Trischka, Monty Alexander, Radim Zenkl, Mike Marshall, Joe Craven (David Grisman), and Andy Stein (Prairie Home Companion).
Ian graduated magna cum laude from the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music. In college he won several distinctions, including jazz student of the year and outstanding senior jazz recital. Ian also was awarded a two week trip to study at Lamont’s sister university in Nagoya, Japan. Ian performs regularly with TheSaurus, the Grant Gordy Quartet, The Expedition Quartet, Gypsy Swing Revue, Sacrebleu! and with other ensembles.
Jackson has played music since he was a child. He studied saxophone vigorously for a few years playing alto and bari sax in all the school bands. Taking a break from the sax during the ‘80s, Jackson got into electronic music and synthesis, inspired by European electronic music and new wave synth bands.
Skip forward to the early 90s when Jackson had discovered rock-n-roll and the electric guitar. After deeply immersing himself in guitar, learning everything he could on his own, he eventually began touring full-time with an all-original eclectic jam band. playing sax and guitar, among other odd instruments. He counts these years as "paying his dues" on the hard road.
In the last few years, Jackson has focused almost exclusively on gypsy jazz. He has been a founding member of three other gypsy jazz projects in addition to Sacrebleu! He plays a ’petit bouche’ (small hole) gypsy style guitar and has been known to dust off his horn on rare occasion, as well.
“The feedback from the guests has been unanimously ecstatic! You guys have really got something going – spare, tight, swinging like crazy. Thanks for a great show.”
“A job done to perfection. We were thrilled to have Sacrebleu! perform at our wedding. Our guests all commented on how much they enjoyed your music.”
“We loved your music as did all of the guests. We have live music every year we have this party – but the guests all thought this was the best.”