Billet-Deux
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Billet-Deux

Langley, Washington, United States

Langley, Washington, United States
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"Great performance"

What a pleasure to have this to add to my jazz program. One can really feel the love and strength of Django Reinhardt in a great performance by these musicians. Great skills!
Joost Van Steen, Jazz & Blues Tour Radio - The Netherlands - Jazz & Blues Tour Radio


"Inspired"

BILLET-DEUX/Deux: Anyone can start out with Django as inspiration but to follow through on the legacy is another story. This gypsy jazz crew has really got it going on in this great, adult listening session. With a load of real music that’s coming as much from the heart as it is the fingers, this crew gives you a great dose of that something different and something extra that’s hard to beat. Inspired throughout.
(Billet-Deux)
Chris Spector - Midwest Record - www.midwestrecord.com - Midwest Record - www.midwestrecord.com


"One of the best jazz releases of 2008"

(Deux) is one of the best jazz releases of 2008. Even though I'm listening in 2009. It's a distinctly guitar-drive jazz album, almost classical in orientation. (It) contains "the sophistication and coolness of modern jazz" and they are right to call themselves such. - Ben Ohmart - Soopah Music


"Fantastic sound!"

I just the Billet-Deux album into rotation and I just love it! Those guys have a fantastic sound!
Kyra Sims - KJHK Lawrence, KS - KJHK Lawrence, KS


"ALITA review-Vintage Guitar Magazine"

Django Reinhardt’s influence over his self-created genre of Gypsy jazz remains so all-powerful that most bands struggle to even walk in his footsteps. Rare are the musicians who can break free to create their own voices with Django’s inspiration as a starting point.
Billet-Deux is one. This Seattle band formed in 2002 determining to bring new vision to Gypsy jazz.
The group includes rhythm guitarist and Gypsy jazz historian Ted Gottsegen and lead guitarist Troy Chapman. The quartet is rounded out be cellist James Hinkley and bassist Kevin Stevens.
With this lineup, it’s not surprising that Billet-Deux boasts a far different sound from others in the genre. The band members all have backgrounds in big-band jazz and classical music, and the style and sensibilities they bring to the ensemble is thus unique.
As the musicians state on their debut CD, this is “music filtered through the cafes of Paris, the genius of Django Reinhardt, classical concert halls, bebop and modern jazz…” And they count as their influences a range of musicians from John Coltrane to Thelonius Monk, Matelo Ferret to his bebopper son, Boulou Ferre.
Alita includes several Django tunes and other classics such as Ellington’s “Caravan” and John Lewis’s eulogy “Django”. The interplay between Chapman’s bebop-inflected lines and Hinkley’s creamy cello improvisations create an alchemy that’s at once classic in tone and novel in expression. Throughout, Gottsegen and Stevens’ rhythm is rock steady.
It’s the band originals that are especially exciting here. Chapman’s title tune is a sweetly singing melody, a catchy composition with a Django-inflected hook. “My Gypsy Hat” by Chapman and Stevens’ “Seattle Blue” showcase the bands‘s extremes, from bebop to moody classical voices.
Alita offers an unique vision, and Billet-Deux are a band to see, and watch in the future.

- Vintage Guitar Magazine


"ALITA review- Just Jazz Guitar Magazine"

The sounds of Gypsy Jazz continue to grow and evolve, and this is one of the most refreshing new cds of the genre . Anyone that has attended the “daddy” of Gpysy Jazz festivals in the USA, DjangoFest Northwest, has probably come in contact with the leader of this great band, Troy Chapman, either in performance or as he hosts tremendous jam sessions. Troy always presents a fresh sound with interesting and vibrant arrangements of Django and beyond, and it is a great pleasure to finally have it captured onto the recording medium. Not only is he the leader, but also he produced, recorded, and mastered this cd, as well as wrote the title track and one other tune, “My Gypsy Hat”.
The musicians of this band include Troy on lead guitar, GJJ magazine contributor, Ted Gottsegen on rhythm guitar, James Hinkley on cello, and Kevin Stevens on bass. This instrumentation lends itself to a unique Gypsy Jazz sound, which one could describe as a chamber jazz effect. Along with this is the astute selection of songs, and their arrangements. Hinkley contributes moving solos, and the interplay between he and Stevens is just right; they never get in the way of each other. A great example of this is Tricotism,the tune of that great jazz cellist and bassist, Oscar Pettiford. Hinkley also shows his vocal chops with the Gershwin/Weill song, “This Is New.” The Crescent City native knocked out the crowd at last year’s DFNW with his stunning vocal of “Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?”.
Of course there needs to be some Django tunes, and Billet Deux included Artillerie Lourde, which features a tasty bass solo by Stevens, and also Swing 48 with great interplay between Chapman and Hinkley, and rock solid rhythm from Gottsegen. Gypsy jazzers everywhere need to listen to Ted as he anchors the whole band and makes it swing. He is a rhythm machine that drives the band. Just listen to Caravan with it’s inventive intro, and overall groove, and you will know what I mean. And lastly, Troy’s leads are always tasteful, and fit the mood of every song, whether it’s subdued, such as their great rendition of the Jobim tune, “Andorinha”, or the previously mentioned “Caravan”.
For a new and refreshing cd, please get on Billet-Deux website and order it up. You will not regret it! - Just Jazz Guitar Magazine


"Jazz Chart Top 10"

Billet-Deux's "Deux" hits the CMJ jazz top 10! - CMJ


"The legends are smiling"

"When you hear them play Dizzy Gillespie’s “Be-Bop” or Charles Mingus‘ “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”, one can only imagine these legends smiling and tapping their feet if they were around to do so (Mingus might yell and curse them out, but that would be his way of showing approval). "
- John Book, - The Run Off Groove


"DEUX review- "unquestionably one of the top jazz releases this year""

They call their sound “Djazz:” Parisian cafes, Bebop, M. Reinhardt, Classical. What it is is WOW great, with a distinctive sound thanks to the use of a cello, rather than a gypsy fiddle. Pitched at a lower register, the CD has a sexy rumble, like the pillow talk in those French romance movies of the ‘60s. Billet-Deux’s principals are Troy Chapman on Django-y guitar, and James Hinkley on the cello. Deux is a superb mix of modern jazz and bebop classics, a terrific Hinkley original (“Fishwife Blues”), and a few eclectics that demonstrate how broadly and thoughtfully the group explores its material. The CD starts off with a few faves by the likes of Dizzy and Mingus before branching out, and it sets the right tone. Really, the arrangements are so appealing, and the sound so alluring, the listening can begin anywhere – this is a “leave in the CD player” disc. Hinkley and Chapman are backed by the exquisite Josephina Hunner, on second guitar, Michael Yocco on bass, and Roger Bennett on drums. Bennett is deserving of special mention, as he is consistently making crucial contributions, those surprising rhythmic and drum choices that color the entire tune, or those little touches that bring a smile and make the tune. Deux is unquestionably one of the top jazz releases this year.

- Tom Petersen
Victory Review September 2008
- Victory Review


"Deux review-"one of the most mature, innovative, and intelligent bands""

With it's second full length release--appropriately dubbed Deux--Seattle based Billet-Deux proves itself to be one of the most mature, innovative, and intelligent bands mining the rich vein of Gypsy Jazz. Led by guitarist and founder Troy Chapman and cellist James Hinkley, the revamped ensemble (with a new rhythm section replacing that from their debut disc Alita) tours through decades of jazz history over the course of the album, including pieces by Mingus (Goodbye Porkpie Hat), Sonny Rollins (Pent-Up House), and Wes Montgomery (album opener Four On Six, which is quickly becoming a new standard among gypsy jazzers). Where many albums in the genre feature a laundry list of tunes associated with Django Reinhardt, the sole tune of his included here is his late-era Anouman, a beautiful ballad that, with its resemblance to the Bill Evans classic Blue in Green, slips perfectly into this moody and evocative set.
But it's not only their choice of repertoire that sets Billet-Deux apart. Their arrangements are tight, sophisticated pieces of work that dispense with the head-solos-head boilerplate in favor of forms that create a musical path for listeners to travel upon. Chapman's guitar and Hinkley's cello weave in and out, around and over each other, carrying on a conversation like old friends. Beneath them, the percussion work of Roger Bennett and rhythm guitar of Josephina Hunner keeps a subtle heartbeat pulse, unobtrusive but compulsively swinging. Together, they make a music that's eminently listenable--music that creates its own mood, and one that you don't tire of returning to time and again.
That's a rare and admirable thing in a circle that seems to anoint a new guitar messiah every few months. Part of the credit has to go to Hinkley's cello, whose voice alone--richer and more sonorous than the more common violin--helps shape the music into something warm, soft, and darkly inviting. In Hinkley's hands, it's also a surprisingly versatile instrument; while an accompanying role as a quasi-bass is easy enough to imagine, that's not what's happening here (bassist Michael Yocco holds down that job). Instead, it's in the carved lines and fluid bowing of his solos that Hinkley really makes the instrument sing. One wonders why it's not heard more often in jazz circles.
As a guitarist, Chapman is a musician. That is, he always seems intent on creating something uniquely beautiful instead of blowing through a collection of runs. One gets the feeling that Chapman has already studied the fireworks school of playing, only to put it aside in favor of making more meaningful work--a work that speaks wholly in his own voice, and has a lot to say. - Djangology.net


Discography

Deux -2008
Alita - 2006
Sounds Like Whidbey (Compilation) - 2006

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Bio

A quintet without horns? They said it couldn't be done, but Billet-Deux has done it.

What if Miles Davis had had the opportunity to play with Django Reinhardt ? Or Yo Yo Ma? What will of jazz sound like in the 21st century? It will sound like Billet-Deux.

Billet-Deux takes what we love about Django Reinhardt and the Hot Club of France - the excitement, the thrilling virtuosity, the
swinging groove - and melds it with the sophistication and coolness of modern jazz. Modern Gypsy Jazz