GYPSKAZZ – a world of influences
The recipe for Gypskazz begins with the combination of two of the world’s most infectious rhythms, gypsy jazz and ska, then goes on to heap a whole bunch of international flavours on top! Balkan, Arabic, African, Reggae, Rock and Latin jostle with film and classical strands in a decidedly rich mix.
In a band full of composers, originals figure largely, referencing everyone from Django Reinhardt to Bad Manners, Beethoven to Charlie Parker, and Carl Orff to Gogol Bordello. Alongside these figure traditional Russian, Greek and Hungarian tunes and reworkings of Rodrigo, Saint-Saëns and Mancini. This is party music with a knowing wink, a sort of ska noir, taking in the waltz, the tango and the Balkan drinking song on its travels.
MelZebra founder of the band, plays saxophone She blends the raunchy and exotic with a real jazz sensibility that’s earned her performance credits with the likes of Dave O’Higgins and Dave Cliff.
She also provides ethereal gypsy vocals and songs. Singer Bill Redfern brings a riotous union of cabaret and punk bravura to his vocal and ukulele style, as befits his background in bands championed by John Peel and in stand-up comedy. Accordionist Andrew Hedges, when not off being a busy composer, theatre MD and band leader, expertly blends the flavours of Paris and Rio into the Gypskazz pot. Guitarist Dave Reay loves any excuse to mix up jazz, folk, rock and metal styles, and gets the chance to tick every box in this magpie line-up. With his previous foray into trip-hop and dance music in the nineties, bassist Martin Virgo is a master of the multifarious grooves required in this eclectic project. Dreadlocked queen of the Gypskazz rhythm is drummer and percussionist CJ Jones, a mesmerising performer whose time studying with the master drummers of Burkina Faso perfectly equips her to power up the Gypskazz party spirit.
In their first couple of years, they've picked up some notable festival and club successes with repeat appearances at Small World Solar Stage, Broadstairs Folk Festival, Rochester Sweeps Festival, Kent Beer Festival, Faversham Hop Festival and
more. Their first album, the self-titled GYPSKAZZ launched in March
2015, and the follow-up, TIME FOR ANOTHER is just out, as of January 2018. Album 3 is pretty much written and recording is expected to begin later in the year. Gypskazz are well on the way to being a staple band for any occasion.