Occidental Gypsy

  • Release
  • 05/05/2015
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Dr. Lonnie Smith says "I love Occidental Gypsy’s new CD 44070. The compositions and arrangements are uniquely creative. They perform with enormous heart and soul and have an original groove that is definitely worth checking out."

“Occidental Gypsy is a crowd pleaser.  Jaunty vocals, lots of swing, and evocative violin and guitar interplay make this an act to catch and enjoy.   They were a big hit at Djangofest Mill Valley ’15.”  – Nicholas Lehr, Executive Promoter of Djangofest

Chicago Tribune Jazz Critic Howard Reich:  “sonic pleasures to be had, particularly in an energetic, gypsy-jazz transformation of Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” which opened the evening. More than once, vocalist-guitarist Frantz brought the large crowd to near silence through the warmth and openness of his singing, as in “Georgia on My Mind.”   read full review

Occidental Gypsy delivers an exhilarating blend of gypsy swing, jazz and world music with a rousing acoustic sound.

Nationally recognized Occidental Gypsy plays a dynamic, multi-genre mix of original vocal and instrumental pieces along with many notable covers like a “gypsyfied” take of Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

The Boston Globe has named them a “Best Bet for Weekend Entertainment,” and musician David Bromberg said of the group, “great singing, fantastic guitar and violin work, with high energy originals that leave the crowd crazy. An awesome band.”

Occidental Gypsy’s sound appeals to a wide spectrum of listeners, and their shows consistently draw enthusiastic audiences at colleges, arts centers, festivals and clubs.

The band has found a powerfully seismic acoustic sound as they play a dynamic mix of original vocal and instrumental pieces--and a few memorable standards-- to exhilarated crowds.  Occidental Gypsy's music cannot be easily classified; a bit of jazz, a catchy strain of pop, and "a whole lotta’ gypsified swing…"

Occidental Gypsy features award-winning violin prodigy Eli Bishop who has played with Wynton Marsalis and Bill Evans of the Miles Davis Group, and still plays at Jazz at Lincoln Center.  Occidental Gypsy has played to solid and sold out crowds at the legendary Nighttown in Cleveland, Old Town School of Folk Music and The Green Mill in Chicago, the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, the Ark in Ann Arbor Michigan and The Triple Door in Seattle, among many others.

The band has shared the stage with such greats as Rikki Lee Jones, Jorma Kaukenen, Stanley Jordan, Joe Sample, and David Bromberg, among others and the band  recently played to a sold out show at the 2015 DjangoFest in Mill Valley, California-- a prestigious homage to Gypsy Swing master Django Reinhardt.

Downloadable Press Assets:  www.occidentalgypsy.com/press

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Jazz | World Music/Traditional | Blues



Brett / Jeff Band Founders

Red Hot Gypsy Band Highlights Hero in "Song for Vrba"

Occidental Gypsy's founder Brett Feldman says the "Song for Vrba" emancipates the listener through the power of its subject matter, and an artful arrangement that carries undeniable cinematic punch.  The Occidental Gypsy original composition is executed in a supremely tight “red-hot, Django-inspired, gypsy fusion” style by a band who has just returned from a national tour of packed jazz houses and art venues.

Having transformed from its early days as a gypsy swing cover band,  Occidental is delving into reinventing well-loved Reinhardt pieces, and writing multifarious, emotionally-charged compositions.  Many of the band's songs include lyrics, and nearly all are spiked with wild doses of world music influences.
Occidental Gypsy's lineup includes Feldman, lead guitarist and primary composer of music built with genuine gypsy swing and a folk feel;  Guatemalan percussionist Erick Cifuentes, who readily adds inventive Latin beats;  violin virtuoso Eli Bishop, whose Jazz at Lincoln Center appearances, youth (he's a 23 year old prodigy), and super-speed Nashville licks rouse the sound into an emotional fervor;  formidable guitarist and old-school, sultry vocalist Jeremy Frantz;  and bassist Jeff "the Elder" Feldman, who co-founded the band with his brother Brett and also serves as a spiritual mentor of sorts.


The story behind this new composition is one of Rudolph Vrba, a prisoner who successfully escaped The Auschwitz Concentration Camp during World War II.  Vrba was able to escape despite numerous obstacles and make his way to Budapest. Instead of going into hiding (which was his safest choice), Rudolph went to the Jewish Council and told them of the atrocities he witnessed and the tens of thousands of murders occurring daily. It is estimated that because of his actions, Rudolph Vrba saved as many as 200,000 Hungarians and people the Nazis considered "not fit for life."

The composition was written, and is performed, in two distinct parts. The first is titled #44070, which was the number tattooed on Rudolf Vrba's forearm in Auschwitz.  While the entire piece is in memoriam to Mr. Vrba, this introductory segment honors all those who had been disfigured and dehumanized during the final solution. The second part of the song picks up the pace... still a bit sad and mysterious, but much faster and with greater instrumentation and verve. This part of the song musically explores the challenges and drama of such a heroic escape.


Dispatch Details

Release Title: Song for Vrba # 44070
Record Label: Independent
Distributor: Independent
Country: USA
Release Type: Digital
Release Format: Single
Preferred Retail Link: Click here
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