Take an Aussie living in Ireland and a Londoner living in Amsterdam, stick them in a studio, and what do you get? Gypsy swing, of course.
Date, the ex-Aussie, has played with George Washingmachine and Martin Taylor, while Nolan has managed to tour the international festival circuit and place compositions in films while still busking regularly in Amsterdam’s Leidseplein Square with his trio. But here it’s just two guitars, eight standards, two Django tunes, and one by Ian – and a ton of swing, not to mention sparks and sensitive interplay.
And while there may be only two Reinhardt compositions, every track celebrates his Quintet of the Hot Club of France. Likewise, the absence of violin doesn’t mean that Stephane Grappelli’s presence isn’t felt from the opening, joyous strains of “I Love You.”
The guitars are panned only slightly, and unfortunately there’s no listing of who’s playing when and where. Both play Selmer/Maccaferri copies – Nolan’s Dell’Arte sounds a bit brighter, while the tone of Date’s Piers Crocker is a shade darker and warmer.
Robin plays the melody on “I Love You,” then Ian solos first, and Robin solos and takes it out. The same format is used on “Lulu Swing,” but it’s the exact reverse on “Joseph Joseph.” On “South” and “Adios Muchachos,” a sort of Mexican tango, it’s pretty much Date throughout, while on “Lover Man” and “Once In A While” he plays support to Nolan. (You can figure out the rest on your own.) But in Gypsy swing, the clearly defined role of the rhythm player is extremely important, so the answer to the question of “Who’s supplying all the heat?” is “Both of them.”
Not likely to be on sale at Best Buy, go to either of their websites to pick them up. Both are sure to warm your heart, put a smile on your face, and make you tap your foot.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s June ’05 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.