Dorado Schmitt (born 1957) is a noted French guitarist and violinist in Gypsy jazz. He is best known for the songs "Bossa Dorado" and "Natacha" from his own albums, as well as the "Tchawolo Swing" from the Latcho Drom soundtrack.
Composer and jazz performer Dorado Schmitt was born in St. Avold, in Lorraine, France on May 29, 1957. Since his childhood, thanks to his family's devotion to music, he became familiar with Gypsy jazz. His father taught him guitar from the age of seven, showing him the music of the prominent Gypsy jazz composer Django Reinhardt. Under this influence, he improved his style by playing all the music of the master, even the most technical solos, in order to perform the style perfectly. Moreover, his father introduced him to violin, and Dorado practiced it with similar skill.
In 1978, he formed the Dorado Trio, composed of Gino Reinhardt playing the double-bass and Hono Winterstein playing the rhythmic guitar. Later, the guitarist Claudio Favari joined the group, for some time, i.g. at the Burghausen Jazz Festival 1983.
Dorado began to compose his own pieces, usually melodies incorporating improvisation and challenging techniques. He eventually became as comfortable with swing and gypsy waltz as with the Bossa Nova and Flamenco styles.
1983, he recorded the vinyl disc Hommage à la Romenes and in 1984 Notre Histoire. The first of them remained a jazz best-seller for several weeks in Germany.
He played with several famous musicians like Philip Catherine and Oscar Peterson, and he took part in several festivals in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, and Greece.
On February 23, 1988, he was the victim of a terrible car crash which slowed down his career and left him in a deep coma for 11 days. His injuries were very serious, and could have ended his career. After two years and several operations, however, with courage, will, and work, he returned to form his trio again in 1990. In 1993, the trio recorded the album Gypsy Réunion followed in 1994 by Parisienne.
In 1997, he briefly went on hiatus after the death of Gino, his brother-in-law, returning in 1999 at the festival of Patrimonio in Corsica. He received the Djangodor trophy at the festival of Luttre‑Liberchies in Belgium in 2000.
In 2001, his fame increased in the United States after he played at Birdland in New York with guitarists like Bucky and John Pizzarelli, Angelo Debarre, the violinist Florin Niculescu, and the Ferré brothers. The next year, he toured the United States, eventually ending with a week of concerts at Birdland. In 2004, he played several concerts at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC.
His son Samson, also a musician and a composer, often accompanies him in his concerts.
He has worked on the soundtracks of films such as Nuages, Les Fous de Django, and the French portion of Latcho Drom, directed by Tony Gatlif, in which he played himself.
His cousin Tchavolo Schmitt is also a gypsy jazz guitarist, as are his sons Samson, Bronson and Amati.