It is virtually impossible to listen to Occidental Gypsy and stay still. If you enjoy the sounds of joyous gypsy jazz with some Latin beats thrown into the mix, this is the band for you to experience. This New England band has the ability to transport you to another world. That world is one where you can let your cares fly away and you can groove to your heart’s content. Even if you just dance in your seat, wearing comfortable shoes is a requirement.
To learn more about Occidental Gypsy, check out their website.
Here’s a video that shows you what this hot band sound like!
How did Occidental Gypsy come into being?
I have been playing gypsy jazz for about 15 years and when I moved to Rhode Island. I began to teach my brother Jeff the bass. We started as a gypsy cover band but then I began writing music for the band and we added a percussionist.
Tell us a little bit about each member of the band and what audiences can expect at a live show.
Our bios are on our website and you can take from there. The audience can expect some humor and some light story telling of original songs as well as Eli(violinist) is the Mississippi 2014 state fiddle champ but also the Guinness book record holder as the world’s fastest clapper. 1020 in a minute!!!!! He usually shows it off at our shows.
Has the band changed its style much over the years?
Occidental Gypsy has become more original and adde some Latin influences to our music
What is it about gypsy jazz that you find so appealing?
It’s very natural and acoustic and challenging
Obviously Django Reinhardt is a big influence on the band. How would you describe his style and technique to those who may not be that familiar with him?
That’s a big question!! You should maybe wikipedia this one!!!!!
You’ve played at a variety of different kinds of venues and different kinds of audiences. Do you have any fond memories of a few special shows that you’ll never forget?
I remember opening a show for Dave Bromberg and the audience loved us (and wanted an encore). As I was leaving the stage Dave said to me “How the hell are we supposed to go on after that!!!??”
If Occidental Gypsy could jam with any musician, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Probably Django because he was the Greatest! A genius and probably a lot of fun to hang out with. It’s funny you asked this question. I had a dream last month that I was jamming with him. He liked me!! But then again it was just a dream
I understand that you’re planning a new CD. What can we expect to hear on it? How does it differ from your last recording?
Our last recording had some pop aspects to it that I am happy to be rid of to say the least. The new CD will have on it some fast original instrumentals and a vaudeville type vocal which is a crowd pleaser. As well “Song for vrba” which you may want to read about on our music page. Plus a few other songs such as a new samba that I just completed and a song that Eli has written for the band. We will be playing most of our new material at the show.