You show me how to control a wild f#cking gypsy and I'll show you how to control an unhinged, pig-feeding gangster. (Snatch)
Gypsy Jazz, who would have thought that I would really like Gypsy Jazz? If you asked me if I thought that would ever be the case 15 years ago, then I would have politely answered you and then have thought you had lost the plot. Over the course of the last few years I have been exposed to it more and more via people playing it live in bars, or listening to the Midnight in Paris soundtrack. But this occasion would be my first outing to a theater to witness some real Gypsy Jazz players.
What I witnessed over the course of the evening was a very civilized performance, which, I might I add was two sets of 45 minutes with a 15 minute drink break in between. This is somewhat different from the usual shows that I attend at Paradiso or Melkweg.
This group of guys appeared to be having a lot of fun playing together and I believe several of them were related to each other, so it is easy to imagine holiday season around at their houses being full of music and joy. Let me also highlight that by no stretch of the imagination should having fun be mistaken with unprofessional. These were all consummate professionals and I can say with a hand on my heart that I believe that on this evening I witness the best, if not the two best guitarists, I have ever seen play live. That is was not what I was expecting when I entered the doors of the De Meervaart Theater.
Now I am not a pedantic person but first off, it wasn’t a “Trio”, there was up to 5 people on stage at any given time. Secondly who would have known that these guys were so damn good? Well not me anyway. And also, who would have thought that they would have a member who joined them on stage (not part of the initial trio), who could croon like Michel Bubble? He was smooth, very soulful and just plain fun. On top of that when he sat down and picked up a guitar he was amazing! I thought this part is just for show, he will probably just strum along a bit in the back ground. This thought could not have been further from the truth; not only could the boy sing he was also an amazing guitar player too.
If I am being totally honest I was not completely familiar with all of the songs played over the course of the evening, but then again, there were not too many which sounded not totally foreign. And at the end of the show I was assured that the song selection had been of a lot of “ Gypsy Jazz Standards” and certainly the ones with Crooning vocals were just that, Martin, Sinatra and they even threw in the Godfather Theme (which I thought was a James bond number, how wrong I was).
All up it was a great musical experience and one I am looking forward to repeating soon.