Ranger & The Re-Arrangers Do Gypsy Jazz Their Own Way
Violin player, composer and bandleader Ranger Sciacca is a massive fan of gypsy jazz guitar legend Django Reinhardt, and his partner, violinist Stephane Grappelli. That said, Ranger's band isn't like most groups who play in this swinging style.
The swing is still the motor that makes this band move, but the Re-Arrangers are breaking some of the unspoken rules of gypsy jazz bands.
There's no lead guitar, that role is filled by the acoustic and electric mandolin of Dave Stewart. Such bands don't use drummers, yet there's Jeffrey Moose behind a large custom percussion set up.
Rare, but not unheard of, Eric Vanderbilt-Matthews adds clarinet and saxophone, and Stewart & Moose are often featured on vocals.
The world of jazz celebrates innovation, so the unique instrumentation is an advantage, setting Ranger & the Re-Arrangers apart from the crowds you'll find at the gypsy swing festivals held around the world.
It was at the festival in Samois Sur Seine, France where Django Reinhardt spent his last days, that Ranger Sciacca and his father Mike - the band's rhythm guitarist - visited in 2006. A trip that spawned the creation of the Re-Arrangers.
Ranger's early studies on violin were primarily classical, but a natural knack for improvisation earned him a reputation as a musician who would travel his own path. Re-arranging in the style of legendary jazz violinists like Joe Venuti and Claude "Fiddler" Williams, Ranger's new nickname seemed like a perfect name for the band.
Progressing from home recordings to more professional studios, their 4th CD Swing 16 came out last year. You can pick 'em up at their concerts, and you'll find Ranger and his friends either playing or enjoying gypsy swing at Django Fest Northwest each Summer on Whidbey Island - the largest festival of it's kind in North America.
With groups like Pearl Django and the up & coming Ranger & the Re-Arrangers, it's clear that swing fans around Puget Sound are living in a gypsy jazz paradise.
Ranger Sciacca (violin), Mike Sciacca (guitar), Mick Nicholson (bass), Jeffrey Moose (percussion), Dave Stewart (mandolin/vocals), Eric Vanderbilt-Matthews - clarinet/saxophone.