It’s not uncommon for creative people to have more than one outlet for their music. Musicians as diverse as Felix Mendelssohn, George Gershwin, Tony Bennett, and Joni Mitchell could all paint, for instance.Share
I know fewer examples of great visual artists who are musically gifted, but Tony Green certainly fits that description. As a guitarist growing up in America in the late 60’s and 70’s, you’d expect Green to worship at the feet of Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, or John McLaughlin. Far from it. Tony’s idol is of all people the Belgian gypsy jazz giant Django Reinhardt.
Green got turned onto this style of music while studying art in Brugges, Belgium in 1978. He fell in with gypsies who live in that part of Europe and that sparked an interest in gypsy guitar that borders on the fanatical.
“I’m a passionate person and I love the passion of this music” Green explains. “Unlike some types of music, the gypsies are always trying to play something beautiful. Theirs is an ancient culture and perhaps this appeals to my love of classical antiquity. They play a whole melange of music; musettes, tangos, waltzes, Spanish pieces, tunes with an eastern European flavor – the variety is wonderful.”
– Tom McDermott
“Green, who also happens to be a talented visual artist, wields his acoustic guitar with finesse and flair over the course of this 11-tune set. While he includes a few Django Reinhardt covers (Nuages, Cavalerie, Bolero) most of the material consists of his own arrangements. Green’s instrumental work – supported throughout by rhythm guitarist Gregor Sneddon and Bassist Vitus Paukstaitis – includes a healthy share of Django-derived licks and nuances but for the most part bristles with original ideas that typically flow freely as his solos unfold.”
“Although Tony Green hails from New Orleans, the jazz he plays is inspired by Django Reinhardt, not Louis Armstrong. Green is an accomplished guitarist in the Reinhardt tradition; his playing has a distinctly European flavor, and he performs plenty of waltzes. This is only fitting, since the waltz occupies a central place in the hisory of Gypsy jazz, much as the blues does in rock ‘n’ roll. Some say you need Gypsy blood to play Gypsy jazz; Tony Green shows that all you need is a heart beats in 3/4 time.”
“Out of New Orleans comes the stunning debut CD by an American painter and jazz guitarist who caught the gypsy-jazz bug while studying at Brugge, Belgium. He was attracted to the gypsy musicians’ melange of musical styles: musettes, tangos, waltzes, and Spanish pieces. Backed by bass and rhythm guitar, Green sets a sensuous mood, transporting the listener with his warm, fluid playing on a fine choice of covers and his own enchanting originals.