Tchavolo Schmitt

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Tchavolo Schmitt, Djangofest Northwest South Whidbey High School Auditorium, 8:00 pm evening show, Saturday Sept. 30, 2006 - Set 5 SWHS - Langley, Whidbey Island, Washington

Tchavolo Schmitt (born 1954 in Paris) is a noted gypsy jazz guitarist. Schmitt performed as a member of various ensembles in the 1970s, but then settled in Strasbourg and left the professional circuit for a time, he began releasing albums under his own name in 2000.[1] He also played Miraldo in the Tony Gatlif film Swing.[2]


Tchavolo Schmitt was introduced to the guitar at the age of 6 by his mother; his father played the violin. He developed, with time, a virtuosity in the manouche style and his renown rapidly exceeded the limits of Alsace, his ancestral region. He became influential among his peers, in particular at Porte de Montreuil or Chope des Puces in Saint-Ouen, legendary homes of manouche swing. In 1979, he became a professional musician, and in that year, after leaving Paris to return to his Alsatian roots, he joined the band "Hot Club da Sinti", which included the violinist Wedeli Köhler, the guitarist Schmeling Lehmann, and the bass player Jani Lehmann. A single LP recording (now a collector's item) was released in 1981. While his career paused during the 1980s, in 1993 he joined the band "Gypsy Reunion" (with, among others, Dorado Schmitt, Patrick Saussois and Gino Reinhardt). In 2000, he released the first album under his own name, with the friendly support and the active participation of Romane, titled Alors?... Voilà!. This album was followed in 2001 by Miri Familia. In 2002, he released the original soundtrack to Swing, a movie directed by Tony Gatlif where Tchavolo Schmitt played the role of Miraldo, a guitar teacher. In 2004, Angelo Debarre joined him to produce a tribute record to Django Reinhardt called Mémoires, and in 2005 he released a solo album called Loutcha.


His cousin Dorado Schmitt is also a gypsy jazz guitarist, as are Dorado's sons Samson, Bronson and Amati.[3]


  • 1981 : "Hot Club da Sinti", Wonderful (Linkshändle Records, 0181 LR)
  • 1993 : "Gypsy Réunion", Swing 93 (Djaz Records, DJ 515-2)
  • 2000 : Alors ?… Voilà ! (Iris Music, 3001 831)
  • 2001 : Miri Familia (Djaz Records, DJ 721-2)
  • 2002 : Swing with Mandino Reinhardt, soundtrack of Tony Gatlif's movie (Warner Music France WEA, 092744936-2)
  • 2004 : Mémoires, with Angelo Debarre (Le Chant du Monde (Harmonia Mundi) 274 1230)
  • 2005 : Loutcha (Le Chant du Monde (Harmonia Mundi) 274 1330)
  • 2007 : Seven gypsy nights


  • 1992 : Latcho Drom, directed by Tony Gatlif
  • 2001 : Swing, directed by Tony Gatlif (DVD and VHS, Montparnasse)