Occidental Gypsy plays an exhilarating blend of gypsy folk, jazz and world music that delivers a lightning-fast, complex acoustic sound, made memorable by sultry vocals just like the first era of swing.
The L.A. Times says, “irresistible, a virtual definition of an era when jazz was often described as “hot” music. Occidental Gypsy’s rhythm section, usually driven by the surging rhythm guitar of Brett Feldman, hit one irresistible rhythmic groove after another, “hot” was the best applicable adjective.”
The Chicago Tribune says the band “…celebrates the optimistic spirit that made Reinhardt-Grappelli an antidote to the tough times of pre-World War II Europe (and beyond)... the music-making – proved carefully considered and nimbly delivered.”
Nationally recognized Occidental Gypsy plays a dynamic, multi-genre mix of original vocal and instrumental pieces, as well as notable covers like a “gypsified” take on Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Concerts feature original songs like “Panamanian Express,” and hot jazz covers of "Over the Rainbow,” and “It Don’t Mean a Thing," among others. Their acoustic vigor fills the room like an electric show, and the band banter between songs is equally entertaining. Fans include musicians who enjoy the sophisticated compositions, but most folks just come to enjoy the music and dance. Occidental Gypsy’s music clearly tributes the past, but cannot be easily classified; a bit of jazz, a catchy strain of pop, a seismic swing experience, and “a whole lotta’ gypsified groove…”
The Boston Globe has named them a “Best Bet for Weekend Entertainment,” and musician David Bromberg said of the group, “great singing, fantastic guitar and violin work, with high energy originals that leave the crowd crazy. An awesome band.”
Well known as capable heirs and nouveau pioneers of the music of Django Reinhardt, Occidental Gypsy was featured at the 2015 DjangoFest in Mill Valley, California. The band has filled houses at legendary venues like Nighttown in Cleveland, Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, The Ark in Ann Arbor, The Triple Door in Seattle and the Chicago Old Town School of Folk The band has shared the stage with greats like Rikki Lee Jones, Jorma Kaukenen, Stanley Jordan, Joe Sample, Tony Rice, and Bromberg. Side projects have also brought band members to Jazz and Lincoln Center, playing alongside artists like Wynton Marsalis and others.
Eli Bishop frequently stuns crowds with lightning-fast, passionate violin, and lead guitarist and composer Brett Feldman drives the band's sound with masterful gypsy swing guitar, learned the "traditional way" (by ear from masters). Jeremy Frantz — a protege of legendary jazz guitarist Joe Negri— brings his sultry, retro-style vocals and expert jazz guitar to the front line, and serves as an exquisite counterpoint to Feldman’s down-and-dirty guitar. Percussionist Jon Chapman and bassist Jeff Feldman pull together the band’s vibrant sound with rich tones, while they keep crowds moving with complex rhythms that make their fans keep coming back for more.
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