Originating in Paris in the 1920s and ‘30s, Spyglass Gypsies are one band bringing gypsy jazz back to our shores.
The Sydney act is comprised of an eclectic mix of jazz and classical musicians that came together as mutual fans of the manouche style, says guitarist Richard Ashby.
“When I moved to Sydney about five years ago I was playing other styles of music, but a few of the musicians I was working with, we were sort of just chatting about the style of music and we started to rehearse and have a casual jam and it really just unfolded from there.”
They're just one Australian act getting back into the old Parisian style, currently making a resurgence around the country.
“I know Melbourne has had a good history of this style of music and I wonder if it has anything to do with the style of venues they have down there. There's a lot of smaller venues and the whole cafe scene and that's happening more in Sydney now as well.”
With everything from clarinet to accordion, you'd think producing their brand of manouche would be chaotic, but Richard claims it’s quite the opposite.
“We tend to be fairly organised. A lot of us, we work in other groups. We really make the most of the time that we have and there is usually really specific goals when we are rehearsing or recording.”
And they have to be. The group just recorded their debut album, which they had to record live, one session at a time.
“We did everything in the room all at once. Which in one way is good because you can get through a lot of songs in a session, but you also have that added pressure [that] if one person messes up that's the entire take gone.”
Spyglass Gypsies will unveil snippets of a new record when they play Brisbane in late November. They'll also pay homage to Django Reinhardt, the great jazz guitarist from the early 1900s and a huge influence in the genre.
“We understand there's a lot of heritage involved so we'll be playing some of the more traditional and original music.”
Spyglass Gypsies will play OzManouche Festival at the Brisbane Jazz Club Friday November 29.