Jouez! Ultraswing is back, and this time with a commission piece for a gig poster for their live shows. You know, the kind of poster that will plastered on telephone polls, the backs of pubs, and billboards. This was an incredibly fun project to work on, so if you are perusing the streets of Brighton, Newhaven, Worthing, or maybe even London, be on the look out for these plastered about. If you see them, take photos and send them to me!
My copies of Ultraswing‘s “Jouez” have arrived; they look so great printed! There is always something pretty great about seeing work printed as it has such a different feel that being digitally onscreen. They have a tactile substance that I love. The music is great too, so if you like gypsy jazz in the style of Django Reinhardt be sure to check out Ultraswing; they have worked really hard to putting this album together and I listened to it on my drive up to the north valley this weekend and the tracks are wonderful. You can have a look at flat, larger versions of the covers from an older post here.
Ultraswing, the UK gypsy jazz band has just released their next album, “Jouez,” for which I did the album art work. This was a great project to work on, especially for developing some fun characters, interesting vignettes and scenes. They wanted to go with the idea of a speak-easy style jazz club featuring the full ensemble as well as all the characters that go along with that type of lounge. As soon as I receive my copies in the mail, I will be sure to post some photos of the product as well. There are interior panels and the disc itself, as well. If you like jazz, and especially gypsy style jazz, in the vein of Django Reinhardt you should certainly check them out and give them a listen; plus, they are super cool cats.
I have long been inspired by the “Gypsy Jazz” musicians of the twenties and thirties, specifically Jean “Django” Reinhardt. One might say he invented the Gypsy Jazz style (sometimes called “Hot Jazz” stemming from his home venue, “The Hot Club” in France) and it could very well be all because of his handicap, which I think is quite incredible. As a young man, he was in a fire which literally seared the last two fingers of his left hand together, fingers that are obviously very important to a guitarist. Being greatly inspired by Spanish Folk, Gypsy music from eastern Europe, and American Jazz which was in full swing at the time seemed to have helped lead way to his two finger quick style; it is unmistakable and often replicated. The fact that he worked with his handicap rather than letting it overcome him, much like Ray Charles or Stevie Wonder, is simply astounding. If you have yet to hear any of his music, you simply must. Below I have included some of his songs as well as other artists like him including the new wave of more eclectic gypsy jazz revivalists such as Caravan Palace and even DeVotchKa.
Django Reinhardt: “Belleville”:
Django Reinhardt: “Minor Swing”:
Opa Tsupa: “Les Deux Guitares”
And something a little more contemporary:
Caravan Palace: “Jolie Coquine”
Caravan Palace: “Suzy”