Shoppers at the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets are in for a swinging good time with some of Canberra’s top musicians performing with the Belco Jazz Band every Sunday.
The gypsy jazz trio, led by Matt Dennett on piano accordion, delights shoppers playing Django Reinhardt-inspired tunes with all the passion and fun of 1930s Paris.
Sunday shoppers can sip a coffee and soak up the eclectic vibe while taking in some well-loved gypsy jazz tunes and the trio’s original compositions.
Many get down to the markets just to take to the outdoor dance floor, even on a three-degree day in the middle of winter!
Matt started the Belco Jazz Band 12 months ago to bring a European flavour to the markets.
He’s invited some of Canberra’s top jazz musicians to feature in the trio, which changes from week to week.
“I’ve hand-picked brilliant musicians who play a variety of instruments, including clarinet and trumpet, but there’s always a Django guitarist and me on accordion,” he says.
“We play the same repertoire of European jazz music with a few original tunes thrown in.”
Notable musicians getting shoppers on their feet include guitarists Lachlan Coventry who teaches at the ANU school of music, gypsy jazz guitarists Sverre Molland and Bruce Rose from The Gypsy Jazz Project, and clarinetist and Rhythm Capital Band leader Justin Buckingham.
Matt says by including an ever-changing line-up of musicians, the sound stays fresh.
“I try to keep the musos moving through so there’s variety and innovation to the music, often in a trio setting,” he says.
“These are seriously good jazz musicians and incredible improvisers. I’m lucky to have them play my original compositions. When combined, they add to the spontaneous nature of the performances.”
He says there’s been a great response to the band which plays every Sunday from 11 am until 1 pm.
“There’s always a lot of people up dancing and relaxing with a coffee,” he says.
“We get quite a few swing dancers coming in, especially from the Swing Katz dance troupe who put on a great performance for the crowd.
“We even had people on the dance floor on freezing cold days in winter – it’s so much fun.”
Matt says the funky Django jazz vibe is fun and energetic, just like you’d find in a 1930s French market place.
“People can buy their groceries and swing by and listen to some live jazz and everyone is welcome to get up and have a dance.”
Django Reinhardt was a Belgian Sinto jazz guitarist and composer, who created an entirely new style of jazz guitar technique – sometimes called hot club jazz or gypsy jazz – which has become a living musical tradition.