please scroll down for all reviews & press quotes

Dr. Lonnie Smith says “I love Occidental Gypsy’s new CD 44070. The compositions and arrangements are uniquely creative. They perform with enormous heart and soul and have an original groove that is definitely worth checking out.”

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David Bromberg says “… great singing, fantastic guitar and violin work, with high energy originals that leave the crowd crazy. An awesome band.”

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“Occidental Gypsy is a crowd pleaser.  Jaunty vocals, lots of swing, and evocative violin and guitar interplay make this an act to catch and enjoy.   They were a big hit at Djangofest Mill Valley ’15.”  – Nicholas Lehr – Executive Promoter of Djangofest Northwest Whidbey Island and Mill Valley California

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Chicago Tribune Jazz Critic Howard Reich (July 2015):  “…the musicians of Occidental Gypsy emerged as classicists, above all celebrating the optimistic spirit that made Reinhardt-Grappelli an antidote to the tough times of pre-World War II Europe (and beyond)… the music-making – proved carefully considered and nimbly delivered.

The heart and soul of this band were wrapped up in the work of violinist Eli Bishop… whose silken legato phrases, impeccable pitch and seemingly effortless technique in fast-moving passages represented the best of Occidental Gypsy’s work and made him the focus of attention whenever he played. Bishop’s deep-amber tone and rhapsodic way with a phrase suited the tune and elegantly rode the pulsing rhythmic backdrop of the band.

… there were sonic pleasures to be had, particularly in an energetic, gypsy-jazz transformation of Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” which opened the evening. More than once, vocalist-guitarist Frantz brought the large crowd to near silence through the warmth and openness of his singing, as in “Georgia on My Mind.” Others may command bigger, brighter voices, but the heartfelt quality and reedy tone of Frantz’s singing disarmed listeners.”   read full review

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Don Heckman of the L.A. Times:  “…results were irresistible, a virtual definition of an era when jazz was often described as “hot” music.  Occidental Gypsy’s rhythm section, usually driven by the surging rhythm guitar of Brett Feldman, hit one irresistible rhythmic groove after another, “hot” was the best applicable adjective.”  read full review

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“The biggest of all surprises is a profoundly moving two-part piece that Feldman dedicated to a Jewish hero and survivor of the Holocaust. This work is in solemn and dramatic contrast to the upbeat, clever surprises in the band’s repertoire…” — Hartford Courant article, January 26, 2015

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“Occidental Gypsy did more than put on a thrilling show that earned our first-ever double encore. They led a series of instructive and fun workshops that gave everyone – beginners, advanced musicians, and even listeners new to jazz – an education and a chance to make better music.”  — Mark Schaffer – Programming Chairman for The Folk Project Acoustic Getaway

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“Jeremy Frantz croons like a jazzed out Sinatra.  Jeremy also takes the first of many nimble guitar solos – the others are taken by equally quick and maybe even more expressive Brett Feldman.

These guys are good. They end the first set of the night with an original, “Gypsy Blues,” about an evil woman who got to almost ever member of the band.  You have to see/ hear these guys to believe this level of alacrity. Highly recommended to fans of Django Reinhardt… but even if you never heard of him, you’ll gasp in amazement at this musicianship.”  – The Noise

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“44070 is at its impeccable best during the original compositions of the band’s guitarist Brett Lee Feldman. A Day With Paula May, for example, presents a complex ramble through the enduring excitement of gypsy jazz whilst the adorably sweet Messalina, with its restless rhythms and Eli Bishop’s intoxicating violin lines, lends the album some of its finest moments. It’s very finest moment, however, comes right at the beginning; 44070 / Song for Vrba, the album’s opening track, is both a moving and exhilarating Feldman original that celebrates the story of Rudolph Vrba whose escape from Auschwitz in 1944 and subsequent writing of a detailed report on the mass murders at the concentration camp led to the saving of over 200,000 lives. The track, like its subject matter, is nothing less than spellbinding.” – Northern Sky Magazine Review – September 2017
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Each tune seemed to further enchant the crowd and OG was able to achieve an interactive experience with the folks who filled The Black Box on this night. The audience responded to the music, the magnificent musicianship, and the infectious energy the group seemed to amplify as the evening progressed. Polite applause turned into cries of approval from the crowd, significant swinging to the beat and even a couple who were inspired enough to take to the dance floor.
Near North Now Concert Review, 8/20/2016

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“Last night we featured Occidental Gypsy, on their first West Coast Tour. In the style of Django Reinhardt, their Gypsy Jazz and World music is amazing. We recommend them to any venue and hope to have them back when they come to California again. ” — Michael Adams, Soper-Reese Theatre.

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“These guys can really swing! In fact, the first time we had them at Rhythm & Roots, they swung so hard that the crowd demanded that we bring them back the next year.”  – Chuck Wentworth (Promoter), Rhythm & Roots Festival, Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival

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“Outstanding. I love the energy and harmony and melodies and the lyrics, okay, I just really like this band.”     – Dee Perry, WCPN Cleveland “Around Noon”, Radio Interview, July 11, 2012
Hear entire interview here

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“Great singing, fantastic guitar and violin work, with high energy originals that left the crowd crazy. An awesome band.”    -David Bromberg, Musician

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“A typical Occidental Gypsy concert consists of a mix of original pieces, traditional gypsy jazz from 1930s and ’40s icon Reinhardt, and covers of songs from other genres — the Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” the theme song from the Harry Potter movies — but with a gypsy jazz spin.

And its appeal is turning out to be widespread.

“Gypsy music is reminiscent of a retro period; it has a warm sound and an acoustic instrumentation that is easy on the ear,” said Kulman. “So anyone who has heard it before is a little nostalgic for the sound and likes us because of that. But we also play with a high energy that appeals to younger ears.”    –Boston Globe Article, August 22, 2012

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The Creative Center is still buzzing from the energy Occidental Gypsy put into it’s set. Trust me when I say, you left those that stayed to hear you with nothing but glowing words about the talent, personality and “feel good” music you performed.

One of the resident artists from The Creative Center who saw your set was heard to say in the hall this morning “Man that music was so good I woke up feeling happy!”. That’s a true story and quite frankly says a lot about how your music touches people and makes them feel.
The Creative Center Greensboro, NC, February 2013

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“…Django has inspired a half-century of brilliant guitarists. In the U.S., Brett Feldman’s band Occidental Gypsy has fused contemporary styles and tunes with gypsy guitar and violin.” -excerpt from “Some Flowers You Can’t Kill” article about Django Reinhardt by Frank Malley

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“I had to wonder if this is what audiences felt when the great Django Reinhardt was introducing gypsy guitar to the world… All masters of their craft, it is blatantly apparent that these guys really love what they do and have a lot of fun doing it! Injecting their gypsy flavor into numbers that range from Duke Ellington all the way to Michael Jackson on top of the plethora of original tunes, Occidental Gypsy delivers a high energy performance not to be missed!”    -Sky King’s Mountain Beat, Read Full Review Here  (submitted June 18, 2012)

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“… the acoustic Hot Club arrangement of Michael Jackson is a kick to hear. The originals on Over Here also testify to the enduring fascination with guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephan Grapelli, whose easy mix of European sophistication and American rhythm set an inspiring model in the 1930s….” – Milwaukee Express  Read full review here

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….Scottie is basically a pop guy,” [Brett] Feldman says. “He is a huge pop fan. He wants to write pop music and I just want to play gypsy swing. But, we play real well together. We’re the best of brothers. So, we basically combined the ideas. We take some American influences and combine them with gypsy swing influences. You play them on gypsy guitars, which really give us our own sound.”

“I said we should do a Django song,” Feldman says. “Scottie said, ‘No, we are gypsy pop band. We should do a Stevie Wonder song. Even better, why don’t we do my idol?’ I said, ‘No, we’re not going to do Michael Jackson.'”

Kulman convinced Feldman to at least give it a try, so the band worked out an arrangement for Jackson’s “Thriller.”
-The Herald Palladium, July 2012, read full article here

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The latest video exclusive from your friends here at TONY is a performance by fast-rising local Gypsy-swing combo Occidental Gypsy, which puts a fresh spin on the kind of music you might have heard in a chic Parisian caf during the 1920s. Gearing up for a date at the Metropolitan Room on June 5 (from which partial proceeds will benefit the American Folk Art Museum), the band popped by the TONY offices to provide a quick dose of old-world charm and New York swagger with an original track called “Gypsy Blues,” as heard on its new CD, Over Here. Doff your beret, sip something strong and have an earful.
– Time Out New York

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“I haven’t heard anyone take a genre this far afield since the Bourbon Boys did The Beatles to bluegrass. Listeners will surely be all in with Occidental Gypsy’s “Over Here”, Whether smiling as the tunes float through the car stereo system, or on the dance floor live.What a terrific and unpretentiousfab four.”  -C.D Review, Motif Magazine April 2011

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“A Whirling dervish of sound rooted in the Hot Club of France, this quartet plays a stunning mix of traditional gypsy guitars and violin with breathtaking originals.”  – WCUW 91.3 FM

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“Best Bet” for weekend live music (Maudslay Arts Center)   – Boston Globe

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“Occidental Gypsy has become a major force in regional music, with appearances at the Rhythm ‘n Roots Festival, the Blackstone River Theater, the Taste of Rhode Island, and other venues in Southern Massachusetts and Eastern Connecticut.”  – The Westerly Sun

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“An awesome array of foot tapping grooves that just keep coming at you song by song. Highly recommended.” – Al Salzillo (Promoter), Nightside Entertainment, Newport Summer Concert Series

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“Whether they respond to the amazing virtuosity of these players or the infectious tempos of the tunes, listeners have been entranced by their music.”  – South County Independent

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“A four piece force to be reckoned with…”

– The Narragansett Times

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“Occidental Gypsy is the real deal. Their playing is impeccable, their onstage presence is infectious and their professionalism is top-notch.”

– George Tocci, Bull Run Concert Series

“A typical Occidental Gypsy concert consists of a mix of original pieces, traditional gypsy jazz from 1930s and ’40s icon Reinhardt, and covers of songs from other genres — the Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” the theme song from the Harry Potter movies — but with a gypsy jazz spin.

And its appeal is turning out to be widespread…

“Gypsy music is reminiscent of a retro period; it has a warm sound and an acoustic instrumentation that is easy on the ear. So anyone who has heard it before is a little nostalgic for the sound and likes us because of that. But we also play with a high energy that appeals to younger ears.”
Boston Globe Article, August 22, 2012

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“Outstanding. I love the energy and harmony and melodies and the lyrics, okay, I just really like this band.”     – Dee Perry, WCPN Cleveland “Around Noon”, Radio Interview, July 11, 2012
Hear entire interview here

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The Creative Center is still buzzing from the energy Occidental Gypsy put into it’s set. Trust me when I say, you left those that stayed to hear you with nothing but glowing words about the talent, personality and “feel good” music you performed.

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One of the resident artists from The Creative Center who saw your set was heard to say in the hall this morning “Man that music was so good I woke up feeling happy!”. That’s a true story and quite frankly says a lot about how your music touches people and makes them feel.
The Creative Center Greensboro, NC, February 2013

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“… the acoustic Hot Club arrangement of Michael Jackson is a kick to hear. The originals on Over Here also testify to the enduring fascination with guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephan Grapelli, whose easy mix of European sophistication and American rhythm set an inspiring model in the 1930s….”
– Milwaukee Express  Read full review here

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….Scottie is basically a pop guy,” [Brett] Feldman says. “He is a huge pop fan. He wants to write pop music and I just want to play gypsy swing. But, we play real well together. We’re the best of brothers. So, we basically combined the ideas. We take some American influences and combine them with gypsy swing influences. You play them on gypsy guitars, which really give us our own sound.”

“I said we should do a Django song,” Feldman says. “Scottie said, ‘No, we are gypsy pop band. We should do a Stevie Wonder song. Even better, why don’t we do my idol?’ I said, ‘No, we’re not going to do Michael Jackson.'”

Kulman convinced Feldman to at least give it a try, so the band worked out an arrangement for Jackson’s “Thriller.” -The Herald Palladium, July 2012, read full article here

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“I haven’t heard anyone take a genre this far afield since the Bourbon Boys did The Beatles to bluegrass. Listeners will surely be all in with Occidental Gypsy’s “Over Here”, Whether smiling as the tunes float through the car stereo system, or on the dance floor live.What a terrific and unpretentiousfab four.”  -C.D Review, Motif Magazine April 2011

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“A Whirling dervish of sound rooted in the Hot Club of France, this quartet plays a stunning mix of traditional gypsy guitars and violin with breathtaking originals.”  – WCUW 91.3 FM

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“Best Bet” for weekend live music (Maudslay Arts Center)   – Boston Globe

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“Occidental Gypsy has become a major force in regional music, with appearances at the Rhythm ‘n Roots Festival, the Blackstone River Theater, the Taste of Rhode Island, and other venues in Southern Massachusetts and Eastern Connecticut.”  – The Westerly Sun

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“Whether they respond to the amazing virtuosity of these players or the infectious tempos of the tunes, listeners have been entranced by their music.”  – South County Independent

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“A four piece force to be reckoned with…”
– The Narragansett Times

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“Occidental Gypsy is the real deal. Their playing is impeccable, their onstage presence is infectious and their professionalism is top-notch.”
– George Tocci, Bull Run Concert Series

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Midwest Record, Album Review  12/20/11 >> go there
In the footsteps of all the great gypsy guitar crews that have come before, Occidental Gypsy forges a dandy, adult listening path that takes it’s cues from the Hot Club but adds and subtracts what’s necessary to create a unique and enjoyable sound. With the music purely front and center and everything else in service of the sound, this four piece crew and their pals know the best thing is to let the music do the talking. A fine, new step in the path that tickles the world beat ears in such a suburb fashion. A winner throughout.

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The Day, Concert Preview  12/15/11 >> go there

Below are four statements about Occidental Gypsy, performing Saturday at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook. Three of them are true. Can you correctly figure it all out?

• A visionary band applying Django-esque arrangements to American style pop music, Occidental Gypsy does a truly clever and inspired arrangement of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” on their 2011 “Over There” CD.

• The great-grandmother of violinist Jakub Trasak was the actress who played the Gypsy fortune teller who counseled Lon Chaney, Jr., in “The Wolf Man.”

• Yes, in September, that was Occidental Gypsy you saw kicking some major ass at the Rhythm ‘n’ Roots Festival in Ninigret, R.I.

• In addition to virtuosity, originality and killer music, the OG stage show is a blast: they’re witty, friendly, and seem the sort of guys you’d hang around with after the show to share a few Pilsner Urquells.

Oh: the “Wolf Man” thing isn’t true, but it should be.  – RICK KOSTER

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Shepherd Express, Album Review  12/11/11  >> go there

New York Times, Concert Listing  12/02/11  >> go there

Time Out New York, Video Post  05/27/11  >> go there

The Listening Room, Concert Review  12/08/10  >> go there

The Valley Breeze, Concert Preview  04/17/12 >> go there

Rockland Times, Concert Preview  03/29/2012  >> go there

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Midwest Record, Album Review  12/20/11 >> go there
In the footsteps of all the great gypsy guitar crews that have come before, Occidental Gypsy forges a dandy, adult listening path that takes it’s cues from the Hot Club but adds and subtracts what’s necessary to create a unique and enjoyable sound. With the music purely front and center and everything else in service of the sound, this four piece crew and their pals know the best thing is to let the music do the talking. A fine, new step in the path that tickles the world beat ears in such a suburb fashion. A winner throughout.

 

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