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Basily – Swing for the Gipsies

 
Swing for the Gipsies

The Dutch Gypsy group Basily has been prolific in releasing recordings and playing concert dates on the Dutch scene, but remains virtually unknown in the rest of the world. This new album will hopefully change that.

Basily is a sextet built from the foundation of four Basily family members: violinist Tucsi, solo guitarist Popi, and rhythm guitarists Gino and Zonzo. The family is joined by guitarist Martin Limberger and bassist Sani van Mullem. Together, they have created a tight ensemble that got its start playing Gypsy jazz influenced by their cultural hero, Django Reinhardt. This new album continues in that tradition, but also adds traditional Hungarian and Spanish Gypsy influences to the mix.

Basily is joined here by the Dutch jazz pianist Beets and his beautifully played and recorded piano round out the sound tremendously. With the added piano and the instrumental interplay in the arrangements, Basily is cohesive and dynamic.

The album opens with the title track, a bopping Gypsy swing tune that is a dazzling showcase for the whole band as they swap lines between guitar, piano, and violin. In the moody piano introduction to “Black Eyes” (“Les Yeux Noirs”), the scene is set for a wild Gypsy fandango that lifts this version far above most covers of an over-recorded tune.

There are times on this album where one questions the musical direction. For instance, the heavy-handed waves-breaking-on-the-shore synthesizer sounds behind Chick Corea’s “Spain” sounds like a 1970s flashback. The inclusion of this songand other Latin numbersis also questionable: Long a standard of fellow Dutch Gypsy guitarist Stochelo Rosenberg, it seems a too-obvious step down the Rosenberg Trio’s path. Basily is too good to copy another band’s legacy.

Swing for the Gipsies is a hot disc full of character, dashing solos, and a full, round sound that will make it a favorite.



This article originally appeared in VG‘s Nov. ’01 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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