By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough- Local musician Jason Anick has played music all over the world and before a large variety of audiences. When he was 12 years old, he was performing in the Martha's Vineyard Agricultural Fair fiddle contest when then-President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary Clinton, unexpectedly joined the audience.
The Jason Anick Quartet presented a Gypsy jazz swing concert recently at the First Church of Marlborough and the response was overwhelming.
“It was very exciting to perform here in my home town and see so many family members and friends who seemed to enjoy our show,” said Anick. “Many were
awed by the high level of musicality drawn in by this dynamic and exciting sound of Gypsy jazz. Many even recognized a number of classic swing numbers.”
Gypsy jazz is sometimes referred to as “gypsy swing” music. It is thought to have been started by the guitarist Jean “Django” Reinhardt in the 1930s in Paris.
The quartet is a special group he assembled of some of the top young Gypsy jazz and swing players on the scene today. The lineup includes Olli Soikkeli on lead guitar, Vinny Raniolo on rhythm guitar, Greg Loughman on bass and Jason on the violin.
Jason began playing violin at 6 years old, encouraged by his father, Peter, who played several instruments.
“Music was all around me and the encouragement and support was always there from my family,” Jason said. “I had an affinity towards the violin so I began taking classical lessons.? I also learned fiddle tunes by ear from my dad and as I got older I continued to play both and enjoy it.”
As a seventh-grade student, he traveled to Japan as Marlborough's musical ambassador to its sister city, Akiruno, as part of a cultural exchange program.? In junior high, his musical interest gravitated to the guitar and he started a rock band with friends, co-writing and arranging much of the group's material.
As a senior at Marlborough High School, Jason resumed his violin studies and continued his musical career at the Hartt School at the University of Hartford, where he earned a degree in acoustical engineering. He is also a graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston and is now teaching there.
“As I got older my dad and I would jam for hours and compose music,” Jason noted. “To this day we still find time to get together and write songs and jam.”
A number of the compositions in his album “Sleepless” released in 2011 were co-written with his father while he was on break from my studies at the University of Hartford.
Peter Anick is an adjunct professor and computer science researcher at Brandeis University.
“As long as I can remember, music has played a big role in my life,” he said.
He also plays fiddle and mandolin with a metrowest bluegrass group “Wide Open Spaces.” The group recently released its first CD, “Fiddletown,” featuring many of the band's original tunes. Jason performs as a guest fiddler on the album.
The elder Anick has written a book about fiddling with long-time musical collaborator David Reiner, titled “Old Time Fiddling Across America.” He also writes for Fiddler Magazine, a publication devoted to all aspects of the instrument.
“Over nearly 20 years, I have sought out musicians from all over the world for interviews, which has led to many memorable adventures,” he said.
Jason's mother, Connie, is also active in the field of music. For many years, she ran the Young People's Performing Arts Festival at the Marlborough Public Library. She is a member of the bell choir at her church, and occasionally breaks out her bass.