The Gypsy Jazz Festival of London
In the first week of May each year London plays host to some of the worlds most impressive Gypsy and Chamber Jazz musicians. In 2022 the festival was a near sold-out event with the Friday and Sunday shows at Crazy Coq's, Wednesday at Vortex Jazz Club and Saturday at Folklore Hoxton all full to the brim! The line up for 2022 featured Mozes Rosenberg, Antoine Boyer, Filippo Dall'Asta, Daniel John Martin, Noe Reinhardt, Hot Club of Jupiter, Paprika, London Django Collective, Skylark Trio and many musicians from London's thriving Gypsy Jazz scene.
Jazz in the UK is in rude health. The much-overlooked, even maligned sub-genre of Gypsy Jazz has been simmering along nicely for a while now; popular enough at weddings and vintage-themed events, but the music and players can cut it in any room, and there’s a cutting edge not many people get to hear. It warrants its place in the London sun.
The godfather Django Reinhardt began playing this music, since codified as Gypsy Jazz, with Stephane Grappelli in 1930s Paris. Always an absolute explorer, harmonically, rhythmically inventive, sophisticated and ahead of his time, Django is an idol whose legacy is more than imitation, noble pursuit though that may be. Artists like Biréli Lagrène, Angelo Debarre and the Selmer #607 collective have kept the fire burning, and added to it; and it’s caught here in the UK too. So this is the state of the art...
The GJFL team are musicians and artists, running the show not for profit but for music. We are committed to fair practice, the golden rule and the groove, and to doing all we can to bring people together for the craic and the love of good music.
A Word on a Word:
Some of our fellow creatures may worry that the word Gypsy is a slur. Though the word has its origins in a mishearing, was and is used occasionally as a slur (as well as a crass instagram adjective), and the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities continue to suffer persecution in many forms and in many places, context is everything.
In this context, Gypsy is not a slur. It is the term preferred by the Sinti people of Central Europe for Gadji and non-Romanes speaking people to use. This is mainly because it avoids confusion, particularly with regards to misnaming diverse groups of people - Sinti are not Roma, for example, though both are Romani… (Here's an excellent longish read by noted cleric Denis Chang that's well worth a look.)
It's complicated, possibly imperfect but we're always ready should the weather change.