The O'Brien Ensemble

 

At Spicers Hidden Vale

 

 

   " Swing is in "

 

  

The O’Brien Ensemble is an Acoustic Swing Group, They are inspired by the great acoustic swing musicians like Stochelo Rosenberg,  Django” Reinhardt and even Carlos Santana. There are Interesting stories about each and here is Django's story he became one of the 20th century's most important guitarists out of unfortunate circumstance.

 

After suffering burns as a young guitarist in a Caravan fire, Django retaught himself the guitar using only his index and middle finger for solos. This unusual technique helped develop a new style of music ....... Gypsy jazz.  If Django’s ring and pinkie fingers had not been paralyzed, there’s no guarantee the world would ever have heard Gypsy jazz.

 

“He was amazing you have to imagine, all of his improvising, he did was with just two fingers.” said Tim, guitarist with the O’Brien Trio “ Miraculously it forced him to think differently, he came up with one of the best ways, to approach the guitar because of his limitation.  

 

Although always popular in Europe, acoustic swing has seen a recent rise in popularity in Australia.  Thanks to festivals and online communities, acts like the O’Brien Trio have found audiences increasingly hungry for the intricate solos and natural toe-tapping swing. 

 

The core players in the Trio are Sam Tim & Mia O’Brien. Sam, performs on E.W.I (Electronic Wind Instrument), and said he had noticed a recent trend of young players interested in acoustic swing and that "It’s also called hot club jazz or by its  French-inspired name, manouche jazz."

 

The O'Brien Quartet
Mia the trio’s vocalist and rhythm guitarist said   “Although this music has been around for awhile, suddenly here in Qld there’s a growing new interest in G.J. and we are seeing lots of musicians and audiences wanting to hear more. In the O’Brien Trio, we look to create a performance that takes the sound in new directions, while staying true to its core elements.”

 

 Mia Tim & Sam O’Brien often invite a special guest to join them, when the occasion calls the Trio becomes a Quintette.  The O’Brien Trio also have used opportunities to create original compositions by infusing the Gypsy style known for its driving rhythm and swinging grooves with other guitar styles. 

 

We recommend for an introduction to Gypsy-jazz, listen to Django’s most famous standard,  ‘ Minor Swing ‘  Its upbeat guitar style  has been featured in the soundtracks of the films “The Matrix”  and “Chocolat” as well as “ Midnight in Paris."  You will hear how the percussive playing of the La Pomp player (rhythm guitarist) stands in for (replaces) the drummer, this is the Gypsy trademark.

 


Gypsy jazz players use acoustic guitars, that not only need precision fingering and great dexterity but also a decade of practice.  Guitarists who are in need of a foundation, the Trio recommends the gyspy jazz repertoire and Django's playing.

 

“It’s the best way to learn the guitar,” Tim said. “There’s certain things that are just difficult about the guitar, and Django understood them and navigated them with mastery.  

 

Mia said " Brisbane is a leading Australia when it comes to having established a Gypsy jazz scenes. Although one of the biggest obstacle for the live performer , is making sure music fans know about performances, often people don’t know when or where performances are happening, but they’re really pleased when they hear us.  We think the Trios performances really resonates across the board with a lot of people. It’s not just for jazz fans. It music that really touches the soul of people.”

 

 Tim says “ Part of the appeal with gypsy jazz, for us, is its introspective. When we think about our goals, it’s about improving as a musicians, getting better as a Trio, developing that ensemble sound together, and taking our playing and expression to be the best possible version of us. You really perform well when you’re playing to a great audience and the swing is a really strong. To bring that to each and every performance is our aim. Our live performances, captures the sound and feeling like no other setting can and to us, the music’s appeal transcends genres.”  It’s an attitude that seems in line with the humble origins of Django’s style all those decades ago.
Stochelo’s and Santana’s stories now….  there is a tale for another day.
Here is a link to our Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/timandmia/  why not swing over and join us.