Unity arts center to feature Gypsy swing musicians

Posted March 26, 2011, at 11:45 a.m.

UNITY — Occidental Gypsy, who will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 2, at the Unity Centre for Performing Arts, is a quartet of musicians who have developed a unique genre probably best defined as Gypsy-Pop, a new take on an old favorite. The improvisation and arrangement of their music hearkens back to the spirit of the European purveyors of gypsy swing, yet they artfully utilize western (i.e. Occidental) themes to produce a fresh sound. Found somewhere on the music tree between John Pizzarelli and Caravan Palace, their songs represent a revival of sorts, a reminiscence for older listeners and an introduction to the under-30 crowd of a foreign yet familiar sound. Is it jazz? Is it folk? Is it roots? No, it is Gypsy-Pop, and audiences can’t experience this troupe without moving and smiling. Consider “Thriller,” the sole cover track from their debut album, “Over Here.” Listeners describe this treatment of the pop classic not as evolutionary but rather revolutionary, as if it is their first exposure to the song.

Brothers Brett (lead guitar) and Jeff (bass) Feldman, originally from New York, have been playing gypsy jazz together for more than a decade. In the last two years, they teamed up with Boston-based and Berklee-trained singer-rhythm guitarist Scott Kulman and Korean-born violinist Echae Kang, concertmistress for the Berklee Jazz String Orchestra. The quartet backs original tunes with Django Reinhardt classics such as “Minor Swing,” all presented with unique Occidental arrangements.

Gypsy swing music was popular in its Depression-era heyday because of its inherent high energy and excitement. Eighty years later, on the heels of the Great Recession, Occidental Gypsy gives audiences what they want.

Tickets are $15, available at 948-7569 or http:// www.unityme.org/theater.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/03/26/living/unity-arts-center-to-feature-gypsy-swing-musicians/ printed on April 20, 2014