Curiosity got the best of this reporter a week ago when I heard, “Anouman,” the group that was performing on the Green, was going to play Gypsy Jazz. Well known jazz genres that come to mind include Cool Jazz, Soul Jazz, Latin Jazz, or even Bebop, Dixieland, Boogie or Ragtime. However, it turns out Gypsy Jazz, which goes back to the 1930s and 1940s, is pretty popular, and after the group’s concert it was easy to see why. They drew about 600 people to the green on the warm summer night.
The group led off the night with “Extra Life” followed by “Nannigans,” both written by rhythm guitarist Josh Kaye.
Also known at Jazz Manouche, Gypsy Jazz has a languid, seductive feel, characterized by quirky cadences and driving rhythms. The audience was pleasantly surprised by the four-man group from Brooklyn and enjoyed the music in the vein of legendary French guitarist Django Reinhardt, who is referred to as the creator of the Gypsy Jazz style, an unlikely mix of 1930s American swing, French dance hall “musette” and the folk strains of Eastern Europe.
The quartet is made up of …
... Peter Sparacino on saxophone ...
... Koran Agan on lead guitar ...
... Eduardo Bel on bass ...
... and Josh Kaye on rhythm guitar.
All the performers who play at Branford say the same thing: “Dennis (Nardella) gives us the great sound.”
Branford police officer Christopher Cope conversed with some folks sitting on a bench at the concert.
Gypsy Jazz has played at the Winter Jazz Festival in New York City, the Midwest Gypsy Swing Fest, Charm City Django Fest, the Music Mountain Festival, the Django By the Sea Jazz Festival, and the Cornella St. Django Fest.
The youngest attendee of the night was 7-week-old Michael Cronin Jr. with his parents Samantha and Michael Sr., and grandpa Scott Palmer.
This youngster (right) had the best view in the house.
“I didn’t know much about Gypsy Jazz music myself before tonight,” said longtime jazz series Master of Ceremonies Bill Keane. “I thought it was different but catchy and the audience seemed to enjoy it very much.”
Enjoying the night were Susan Brody (left), grandson Brady Pechkis (8), granddaughter Corey Pechkis (6), and their mom Alex Pechkis.
Some members of the Branford Garden Club sat as a group near their latest project, the Veterans Memorial Garden.
The group played some of their popular songs such as “Joyful Drinking Song,” “Dark Eyes,” “Moonshine is the Best Time,” and “Made in France,” to the delight of the crowd estimated to be about 600.
They came out for an encore when the crowd gave them a standing ovation