Picture yourself in a smoky, dimly lit nightclub in the Montparnasse district of pre-war Paris. The area around the small stage is packed with the artists, writers, aristocrats, and criminals that haunt the darker parts of the City of Light. A band comes out from behind the velvet curtain and begins to play in the soft glow of the stage lights…
The music you imagined is what you will hear at a Bayou City Swing show. The band plays in the style of the 'Quintette du Hot Club de France,' a pioneering jazz ensemble founded in 1934 by guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli.
Bayou City Swing carries on the great tradition of these artists’ musical style - a genre which came to be known as “gypsy jazz” or jazz Manouche/continental jazz. Like Reinhardt and Grappelli before them; the group adapts standards from the jazz, blues, and American Songbook repertoire to the gypsy jazz idiom.
The band’s repertoire also draws inspiration from the varied backgrounds and creativity of its musicians. At their shows, it's not unusual to hear arrangements of traditional folk songs, contemporary popular music, classical compositions, and many original compositions by band members.
This is a very special kind of music which combines infectious swing rhythms and jazz harmonies with acrobatic and passionate solo improvisations. There is a reason this genre has persisted for over eighty years: it compels you to move!
Bayou City Swing seeks to share their love of this music with you, bringing gypsy jazz to Houston, Texas, and beyond.
Juan Rangel plays Optima Strings