Gypsy Swing All-Stars: “Les Nouveaux Bohemiens”
Gypsy swing is a vibrant meeting of American hot jazz and Gypsy melody which originated in 1930s France. Today, not only does this music continue to delight listeners everywhere; it is very au courant (of the moment).
This album is a loving tribute to the timeless music of the Quintette du Hot Club de France, the legendary pre-World War II group that defined and popularized Gypsy swing (or Gypsy jazz, as it is sometimes called). “Les Nouveaux Bohemiens” was brought to life by longtime Gypsy swing enthusiasts Marti Amado and Josquin des Pres.
Josquin was raised in France in a music-loving family. “The first legitimate gig I had as a musician,” he says, “was with French violinist Didier Lockwood, a protégé of Le Hot Club violinist Stephane Grapelli. Naturally, what we played reflected our shared love of Gypsy jazz.”
Marti hails from the U.S. In the 1930s, at the height of the Swing Era, her grandfather played jazz in one of the big bands that were the prevalent form of popular music. “I grew up with a strong appreciation for the upbeat, happy jazz of those years. Swing was a huge influence on Le Hot Club.” She continues: “Participating in some short Gypsy jazz projects whetted my appetite to undertake a full album. It was just a matter of time and meeting the right musical collaborator—Josquin.”
After composing the tunes, Marti and Josquin set out to find players for “Les Nouveaux Bohemiens”. High standards of musicianship were essential. “And one more vital quality,” Josquin says. “To really play Gypsy jazz, you must have a certain feel that is born of fluency with and love for the genre. Marti and I sifted through A-list players and hand-picked the ones who were not just great musicians, but the right musicians.” Marti: “In the Gypsy Swing All-Stars, we feel we found the perfect ones. We’re sure listeners will agree!”