Gypsophilia – ‘Constellation’

Review by Andrew Sisk

I had moved to Halifax for the second time in 2004 and had heard of these gypsy jazz shows that were happening in an old church. It felt like one of those secret underground happenings that I had always read about but had never had the chance to be a part of. In the dimly lit church, the music summoned another era of Django Reinhardt inspired string bands. Gypsophilia was the band and the crowd were dancing like they didn’t know how but didn’t care either. Musical prowess flew from every player of the group as they skipped and ran over scales and old european melodies. The music that bowed and picked it’s way over the audience had a power that compelled people to suddenly add gypsy-jazz to the list of music they liked.

Now, 7 years later, Constellation is their 3rd release and demonstrates giant steps. Recorded at Hotel2Tango studios in Montreal with the group’s 3 guitars, Double Bass, violin, and trumpet/piano as the instrumentation, the diversity of inspiration jukeboxes through the album while being held up by a mastery of musicianship. The busy swinging notes and jostling of solos makes this album undeniably jazz, however, the infusions of eastern european folk and klezmer elevate it beyond a lone category. The fuzzed guitar on tracks like “skirmish” and apocalyptic synths on “Valse Povero” show a subtle touch of experiment to the album while mournful french pop weeps from “Super Bowl party” and “Bercy” has a Curtis Mayfield flair.

The virtuosity of their live performance is captured in these live off the floor sessions in clarity and character, making Constellation one of the best Jazz albums of the year.