More and more indie-folk musicians have been jumping on the gypsy revivalist bandwagon in recent years, costuming themselves in colorful headscarves, off-the-shoulder blouses, billowing sleeves and hoop earrings. And, at least from Archtop Eddy's perspective, that's not necessarily a good thing.
"The word 'gypsy' itself is often misunderstood," says the Mango fan Django guitarist, who's been playing in the gypsy jazz tradition for more than a decade. "It seems to be used as a way for people to express what they consider to a kind of bohemian lifestyle. But in actuality, gypsy is a term for the Rom people of Europe, who have their own culture, their own history, and their own music."
Much of Mango Fan Django's repertoire draws upon the music of Jean "Django" Reinhardt and his contemporaries, with its intricate arrangements, distinctly percussive acoustic guitar, and suggestions of styles ranging from bossa nova to waltz to swing.
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Recently, the band brought on board full-time violinist David Siegel, who serves as the Stéphane Grappelli to Archtop Eddie's Reinhardt. But while that may give the group an even more traditional sound, its bandleader doesn't begrudge gypsy music's more knowledgeable innovators.
"When you take it out to its very edges, you'll find some people doing really interesting things, such as Gogol Bordello, the gypsy-punkish band. And realistically, he has as valid a claim to the term 'gypsy' as anybody else, since I believe that he's of Russian gypsy heritage.
"There's a lot of expansion going on, which I think is healthy for gypsy jazz," concludes the guitarist. "Where it's not necessarily useful or healthy, at least in terms of getting people to understand the music, is when it's being used generically by groups to take marketing advantages."
2nd place: Moonhoney
3rd place: Colorado Springs Big Jazz Band