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Tatiana Eva-Marie lands in Orlando for two nights of gypsy jazz sounds

Everyone’s absolutely agog about Judson’s Live right now for good reason. But, while the Dr. Phillips Center’s newest, most intimate and most accessible listening room has been hopping with many acts, perhaps none so far are as ideally suited to this spot’s supper-club concept than Tatiana Eva-Marie.

Although she’s NYC-based right now, this bright young songbird’s pedigree has both French and Balkan roots, so the heritage of Gypsy jazz is in her actual blood. She exhales vintage allure with revivalist jazz-manouche stylings that will quantum-leap you right back to the swinging club scene of 1930s Paris, tout de suite. So tip that bottle and pass the Gauloises, mes amours. (Well, maybe save that last part for outside after the show.)

Eva-Marie has been a regular feature at premier NYC jazz joints like Birdland, Blue Note and Dizzy’s. Now, see her classic glow fully unleash the spirit that Judson’s Live was painstakingly designed to embody.

OW: A two-night stand allows you more freedom; do you have anything special planned for these shows?

TEM: We are going to play some selections from my upcoming album Djangology, a tribute to Django Reinhardt which will be released on June 7 on GroundUP Music, but I am also going to add some Parisian and Gypsy jazz classics to the repertoire. I might even take up the guitar myself and sing you an old Gypsy folk song in the Rromanes language.

When did Django Reinhardt’s music really start to resonate with you?

I actually discovered Django through Stéphane Grappelli, because my mother is a violinist and obviously a big fan; it was always playing at home when I was a kid. When I moved to Paris as a teenager, I discovered a swarm of guitarists: Gypsy jazz (jazz manouche in French) was everywhere, on every street corner, in every café. To me, it became the soundtrack of the city. It’s such a distinct sound, which somehow
is not at all stuck in time.

Would you talk a little bit about the science of Djangology (we’re not joking!)?

You think you’re joking, but there is an academic side to my personality I keep secret! The aim of this project is to celebrate Django “the composer.” Everyone is so blown away by his guitar wizardry that we too often forget what an interesting and unusual com- poser he was, influenced not only by American popular music and French musette, but also classical music of his time.

Another important influence was the folk music of the Manouche people, descendants of Rromani tribes who left India about 1,000 years ago, living nomadically then settling in various regions in Europe, integrating local cultures into their own.

All of this is so rich, full of rhythms and musical colors, so inspiring for me as a singer reimagining Django’s instrumental music as stories I can tell, with original lyrics and new arrangements. I try to showcase all of these different influences in my homage, onstage and on the album. And this is just the first chapter of a “Django songbook” I will keep adding to!

7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday, April 5-6, Judson’s Live.


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Bao Le-Huu and Matthew Moyer

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