When Ranger Sciacca picks up the violin, he accesses his internal auditory world and shares it through his rosin-covered fingertips.
“I love how expressive the violin is,” he said. “The ability to play long notes really plays into that. You can play things that are just heartbreakingly sad or sweet. Or, you can really dig in and wail on it like a horn player. Or you can make all sorts of crazy sounds that people don't usually hear. I expect to break out of a few of those tricks in Coyle.”
Ranger and the Re-Arrangers, a Gypsy jazz band formed by Sciacca and his father Michael in 2006, will perform at 3 p.m. Jan. 13 at the Laurel B. Johnson Community Center in Coyle as part of the ongoing Concerts in the Woods series.
“We will start off the new year with the return of a Coyle favorite,” said event organizer Norm Johnson, adding Gypsy jazz is a style of music believed to have been created by guitarist Jean "Django" Reinhardt in Paris in the 1930s. Johnson said he first saw Sciacca perform about 22 years ago when the latter was just a boy.
“He was amazing even then and seemed to be a natural playing standard fiddle tunes under the guidance of his instructor, Stuart Williams,” Johnson said. “By high school age, he was obviously more than a skilled fiddle player but was making up his own music and developing his own style. And now Ranger is a master at improvisation and has a keen sense of anticipating where the music is going and travels with it as each piece takes on a life of its own.” Sciacca described his music and energetic and playful. “We like to mix in some tight arrangements with lots of improvisation and some ‘Re-Arranging’ on the fly,” he said, adding that the audience can expect a wide range of tunes such as vocal swing standards, minor Gypsy melodies, Latin music, a Finnish waltz, classical ballads and an American folk tune or two.
“A couple times, maybe we'll let it get out of control and see how fast we can go,” Sciacca said. The Gypsy jazz portion of the show will be especially memorable, he said. “Gypsy jazz is really fun music, even the slow and minor tunes have this joy in them. I've got a wonderful group of musicians coming with me, and this is a great setting and venue for music.”
In addition to Ranger and Michael on guitar, the band — formed after a pilgrimage to the Django Reinhardt festival in Samois Sur Seine, France — consists of Jeffrey Moose on vocals and Dave Stewart on electric mandolin, tenor guitar and traditional mandolin.
“Our original bass player passed away in 2014, but the rest of the original members have been together since 2007,” Sciacca said. “We stick together for the same reason we originally came together — it's awesome to play with such talented players and good listeners.”
Sciacca said he and his father enjoy a great on-stage dynamic.
“It's awesome that we get to spend a lot of time together, traveling and playing music,” he said. “I know I can always count on him, and that he'll forgive me for being particular and nit-picky.” The band has released four albums and performs more than 100 times each year at music festivals, concerts in the park, swing dances and weddings, a news release stated.
The Coyle Community Center is located at 923 Hazel Point Road in Coyle. Admission to the all-ages show is by donation. For more information, call Johnson at 360-765-3449 or visit www.coyleconcerts.com.