Reviewed by Jessie Mann
If you had asked me where I was on Saturday 5th January, I would have been inclined to say at a club in the heart of Paris. Listening to the band, Parisian Swing, I was honestly transported to another time and place, taking in the rich sound of the 1930’s Parisian Gypsy Jazz era.
Being the first band to perform at The Musician in Leicester this year, they certainly kicked off 2019 with a SWING!
The four greatly talented band members performed to an enthusiastic audience that sat at little tables by candlelight and soaked in the atmosphere the musicians created.
With Arthur Tyers and Will Smith on Guitar, Kenny Wilson on the Accordion/vocals, and Mike Whittle on the Double Bass/vocals, this set up was all you needed to listen to some of Django Reinhardt’s most famous songs.
Nuages, a Django classic, set a slow, rich and velvety mood for the couples in the crowd and then the juxtaposition of Mack the Knife, described as ‘a mean song about a mean person’ brought laughter and bounce even over its darker lyrics. Beautifully played with speed and accuracy, each note was phenomenal from the guitars. Smith and Tyers were able to play incredibly fast but each note reached the audience perfectly.
Mike Whittle on the bass enchanted us all with his charisma and passionate dancing with his instrument throughout the evening. During the song It had to be you, each instrument had time to truly be appreciated as the focus was passed from the guitars to the bass, to the accordion. You were able to single out the gifts of each of the band members and appreciate how much talent and hard work goes into what they do.
My favourite song of the night had to be Autumn Leaves, originally by Edith Piaf, which Parisian Swing played with beautiful romantic justice. The audience was transported to a café in Paris with Kenny Wilson’s French vocals and accordion tying the scene together with Parisian passion.
The band played 18 songs from 8:30 onwards with a break halfway in which Music in Leicester was able to interview Mike and Kenny who were buzzing from their first half.
With a quick ‘one-two-three’ the band were off in full swing with upbeat lifts that you couldn’t help tapping and nodding your head too.
The band also played Sweet Sue, Honeysuckle Rose, Minor Swing, Just a Gigolo, Douce Ambiance, Lady be Good and After You’ve Gone. The mix was a real treat for the crowd to experience a taste of the best of Parisian Gyspy Jazz.
After two ‘last’ songs from the band (as the audience asked for more) the evening concluded at 11 and I’m sure many people will be having jazzy-dreams for a long time to come!
I wish the best for Parisian Swing and hope to hear them again!
Bonne chance mes amis!