Pearl Django

Jazz fills the Narrows Theater Saturday

By Paul Schrag on May 24, 2007

Gypsy jazz geniuses Pearl Django will make a blessed appearance June 2 at Tacoma Musical Playhouse, with local favorites the Lance Buller/Stephanie Porter Experience. Twelve years on the road, Tacoma-born jazz nomads Pearl Django continues to wear out shoes, fingers and kegs on its path to musical Mecca. Neil Andersson, Dudley Hill and David “Pope” Firman started making music in Tacoma during a strange alignment of musical stars. The same year Salt n Peppa dropped “Whatta Man”; Rod Stewart, Sting and Bryan Adams made music together; and Me’shell Ndegeocello arrived from the future to make “Wild Night” with John Mellencamp, the trio was fashioning a beautiful Frankenstein creation from jazz, bluegrass, folk and American swing. Adding violinist Michael Gray and guitarist Shelly Park, the crew traveled the country. Several years later, with a few band changes thrown in for spice, Pearl Django had honed its sound, marauding and defining its unique musical space with undeniable grooves, fresh rhythms and evolving line ups.

Eight albums later, Pearl Django is currently pressing its ninth release, Modern Times, featuring a full quintet, including accordionist David Lange. Neil Andersson and guitarist Peter Pendras, meanwhile, are preparing for the June release a surf-jazz masterpiece entitled “Malibu Manouche.” Members of Pearl Django can be heard on Almost Home, produced by David Lange, also in June.

[Narrows Theater, Saturday, June 2, 8 p.m., $25, 7116 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.565.6867]