u n c o n f i n e d G y p s y j a z z
Arts & Entertainment
May 7, 2012
[Swing Je T'aime] brings elements of Europe and Brazil to the jazzy goings-on, drawing influence from gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, among others. The musicians range in age from 20s to 60s, ensuring both authenticity and a hip reverence for swing.
Upbeat jazz sets the stage. Classical nuances add drama. A touch of pop brings zest and spunk, while French undertones and Brazilian beat give the music an exotic flare. Then gypsy guitar takes over while the rest chime in.
The unique flavor of Swing Je T'aime's sound comes to Loveland's Rialto Theater at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 30.
"We want our audience to leave feeling great, giving them an experience that they're going to remember," Aaron Walker, director and guitarist of Swing Je T'aime, said.
Their upcoming performance will feature manouche guitar, piano, clarinet, perky bass and percussion. Vocalist Laura Gerhard -- her voice is described as "chocolate mousse and pink champagne" -- will make her debut appearance with Swing Je T'aime, singing in both English and French.
"It all centers around gypsy jazz, but we're grabbing from everything else as well," Walker said. "We're putting (different styles) together in really clever arrangements."
The group started in 2009 when two talented individuals began thinking outside the (music) box. Walker's degrees in audio engineering, music composition and theory jived well with the experience of gypsy jazz pioneer Django Reinhardt, so when they added in other talented musicians -- all with higher education degrees in music -- it wasn't a surprise when fans were impressed.
"There's something that people can really enjoy even if they don't know a lot of about music, but there's also something that can impact a professional musician," Walker said.
Swing Je T'aime's musical line-up hails from the Denver/Boulder area, but Walker said they're ready to perform for a different audience.
"I'm excited to go to Loveland because it's a new community of people who haven't heard our music yet," he said.
Rialto Presents Swing Je T'aime
July 29, 2011
Swing Je T'aime is bringing its blended musical styles that cross generations to the Rialto Theater at 7 p.m. Saturday night.
"Our music doesn't fit squarely in any one category, so it can be difficult to describe with words," said director and guitarist Aaron Walker, who founded the group in 2009.
Walker has degrees in audio engineering, music composition and theory and a passion for the tradition of Gypsy Jazz pioneer Django Reinhardt.
The band is made up of musicians ranging in age from their 20s to their 60s.
"We'll do anything; I mean, we took a piano trio by Schubert, and morphed it into a Bolero, then set it to lyrics about a couple breaking up," Walker said in a news release. "Another example is our Gypsy Jazz retake on a medley of songs from Andrew Lloyd Weber's Phantom of the Opera."
Swing Je T'aime's members individually specialize in jazz, Manouche, classical, Latin, Dixieland, Brazilian, pop, and bluegrass.
Their debut album, Cou Cou, was released in the spring.
Gypsy Guitar & All That Jazz
Swing Je T'aime Brings Musical Mix
July 28, 2011
Jazz Band Debuts Album in Arvada
BY MEGAN QUINN
Local band Swing Je T'aime is part Django Reinhardt tribute, part "exclusively for everybody."
The band, which will host its CD release party this week at the D Note, weaves together energetic swing and Afro-Cuban sounds with sultry jazz and subtle folk sounds. The diverse musical influences are what gives the band its "exclusively for everyone" motto.
The band's biggest influence is famous 1930's gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, who developed a new style of jazz after growing up in gypsy camps in Belgium and France.
Guitarist and front-man Aaron Walker said Reinhardt's style is accessible and fun, which lends itself well to live performances.
"Gypsy jazz is community music," he said, "It's the furthest thing from the academic, abstract jazz that we find in clubs today which has turned many in the general public away from jazz altogether."
Swing Je T'aime will have a CD release party 7 p.m. Saturday, April 9, at the D Note, 7519 Grandview Ave.
The band's show will also feature swing dancers from the Woodside Jumpers, who will perform a choreographed dance to some of the band's music.
Walker hopes the dance will inspire the audience to get moving themselves.
"It's about making music for people to both listen to and interact with," he said.
The band aims to showcase not just its crowd-pleasing tunes, but its technical prowess. All of the members studied music in college, with some members earning a masters or doctorate.
Sharpening a variety of musical skills has made it easier for members to integrate and navigate the bandit's multiple musical influences, said clarinet player Jeremy Wendelin.
"Even though we are blending different styles, we share a vocabulary about how to put it all together," he said.
Most of the musicians divide their time between Swing Je T'aime and multiple other bands. Walker, for example, also directs the Elevation Swing Orchestra, and other members perform in local jazz bands.
"The jazz scene in Denver, for a city of that size, is surprisingly rich," Wendelin said.
Since most of the musicians are already exposed to swing and jazz standards, Walker wanted to hone in the sound to encompass some of the unique sounds of Gypsy jazz. Swing Je T'aimes resulting album incorporates traditional gypsy guitar, bass and fiddle with jazz and swing sounds, he said.
The album's selections are just as varied as the musical influences used to create it. The album includes covers of Django Reinhardt's "Cou Cou" along with soulful original compositions and new takes on songs such as Great Depression-era "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?"
"The style we play is very relatable," said vocalist Chelsea de la Cuadra. "Even if it's something you don't always hear on the radio, it's not so abstract. We have silly and serious songs."