Music to drink and party to
Music to drink and party to, “not for sipping wine and eating crackers”, is how Wellington-based gypsy jazz act, Black Spider Trio have described themselves.
“People are often stoked on us because others playing this style of music in New Zealand, to any decent degree, are generally much older than us, playing tired and generic medium-paced tunes, often focusing on covers,” the band told musician John Dimery.
“We wanted to play something faster.”
Blazingly swift gypsy swing, deep sultry ballads, old world waltzes and foot-stomping shuffles is what the talented lads deliver.
The trio is known for its re-imaginings of classic jazz tunes by Django Reinhardt, Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet and others.
Gypsy jazz, or gypsy swing or hot club jazz, is said to have been started by the Romani guitarist Jean “Django” Reinhardt in Paris during the 1930s. Because its origins are in France, gypsy jazz is often called jazz manouche.
With a core trio of James Quick and Sam Thurston on twin lead acoustic guitars and Scott Maynard on double bass, the sound is all around stringed instruments.
“We love the Django style; the high energy, improvised style of music” says Maynard, a former Gisborne resident.
“For jazz and improvised music it’s accessible, it has constant rhythm. The rhythm in modern jazz can be a bit more ambiguous.”
The Black Spider Trio write originals as well as play Reinhardt’s more obscure works but they are still accessible, says Maynard.
“We all come from different musical backgrounds and those influences come into our own pieces. A lot of us have played punk and that attitude lends itself to playing this sort of music.”
As buskers Quick and Thurston began honing their craft on Wellington streets. While learning various gypsy jazz guitar techniques they built themselves a solid repertoire. By 2011 they had put together a quintet made up of three guitars, horn and double bass. Under the title Black Spider Stomp they have since released three albums and a 7” vinyl. As a trio, Black Spider released their album Gypsy Swing in June.
Black Spider Trio, Dome garden bar, Friday November 22, 7pm. Free entry.