‘That Spanish tinge’: Evan Christopher’s Django A La Creole

Prototype guitar hero Django Reinhardt tore up the jazz world with his fiery gypsy swing style, doing with two fingers – the other pair lost in a caravan fire – what no one before him had done with a full four. And nearly 60 years after his death Reinhardt still has a fair claim to being Europe’s best known jazzer, creating an entirely new music distinct from the predominant American idiom. One day in 1939 Europe’s new swing king holed up in the studio with three players from American’s reigning royalty, the Duke Ellington band. Laying down just six songs, the … Continue reading ‘That Spanish tinge’: Evan Christopher’s Django A La Creole

Swing when you’re winning: Jay Phelps gets his groove

AS slick jazz trumpeter Jay Phelps hits the road, Rob Garratt found out what makes the former Empirical founder swing  FOR Jay Phelps, it really don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got the swing. In fact it may be hard to find someone who has lived their life more acutely in tune with Duke Ellington’s mantra. After all, Phelps is the guy who walked out of perhaps the biggestUKjazz band of his generation, at the peak of its powers, simply because it didn’t groove enough. That band was Empirical, a sharp-dressed quintet of classy young players in slick suits, … Continue reading Swing when you’re winning: Jay Phelps gets his groove

Folk-rock, forty years on: Fairport Acoustic Convention on tour

“Acoustic is an anagram for seated,” introduces Simon Nicol, both showing up a loose approach to the English language, and explaining the addition of an extra word to Fairport Convention’s billed name. And with all of the quintet sprouting gray hair, and after four decades on the road and 50 albums to their name, why shouldn’t the guys sit down for a bit? The folk-rock pioneers’ lengthy heritage was hammered home when singer and guitarist Nicol, introduced a “relatively young” addition to the Fairport canon – from 1985. Blimey, there are people in the Croydon audience younger than that. Just. … Continue reading Folk-rock, forty years on: Fairport Acoustic Convention on tour