Henry Acker: 14

Syncopated Times readers were introduced to guitarist Henry Acker back in March of 2017 by our Jazz Travels writer Bill Hoffman. Bill discovered Acker at The Chicken Fat Ball, an annual traditional jazz event in Maplewood New Jersey, and sat him down for an interview. At the time Acker was just 12 years old. In the interview, Acker describes the family background that set him on a musical path: "I come from a family of a lot of talented musicians. There were ten siblings in my grandmother’s family and they all played well. Most of them were jazz players. The family reunions were big jam sessions. I had some great uncles who were horn players in some of the big bands in the 40s." He grew up in the Boston area where his father, Victor Acker, and uncle Dana Acker, both Berklee alums, are part of a jazz trio. It was during their preparation for a French-themed show that Henry was exposed to the music of not just Django Reinhardt but the many Gypsy Jazz guitarists that have followed him. He feels particularly inspired by  Biréli Lagrène. Acker has played at several festivals, appearing with many notables of the Gypsy Jazz community and the traditional jazz scene more generally. In the interview with Bill Hoffman he runs off their names like star players on a baseball team. He became enamored with not only the technical proficiency on display but the fun the g
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