Friday, June 11, 2010

Jazz, With Gypsy Style

Gypsy Jazz. It swings. It lilts. It makes you feel good. With a single instrument - the guitar - it can encompass everything from nostalgia and playfulness, to fury, and outright joy.

And then...there are the shoes.


Burlington-based guitarist Jim Stout and I met for coffee on a recent afternoon and one of the first things I noticed was his classy wingtip Doc Martens. During the course of our conversation over the next hour or I so I discovered that's kind of a "thing" among gypsy jazzers. Well why not, those toes can sure get to tapping in the heat of a good swing. They might as well be dressed up for the occasion.

Jim brought to my attention in particular a video featuring some of today's top manouche guitarists. Sure enough, around 3:46 into the video, there are the shoes.

(Check out this still shot from the video---------->

... and then - below - check out the whole thing. It's great.)

He also also brought his guitar along that afternoon, and we spent some time outside enjoying a few tunes and taking in the sunshine.

I met Jim a year ago, when he and the Queen City Hot Club played at Leunig's during last year's Festival. I'd been hearing there was a new gypsy jazz group in town and I went to give it a listen, since I love that style music and I'm always looking to be turned on to players I haven't heard yet. I was immediately taken with the Club's strumming, singing, cheerfully free-spirited style.

A year later, Jim has settled nicely in to life in Vermont teaching and frequently playing around town. "Here, you can actually make a living making music,", he said during our talk, comparing Burlington to his previous life in New York City where an unrelated full-time job was necessary on top of occasional gigs with the band. "It's just a lot easier to play here."

We all benefit from that.

The Queen City Hot Club has two more Leunig's appearances coming up this weekend, tomorrow (Saturday) from 2-5pm, and on Sunday from 1-4pm.

Come on over and shake a leg. Just make sure you're wearing the right footwear for it.

1 comment:

  1. Besides being a long term fan & friend, Jimmy has always had great taste in attire. Norma from Philly