October 28, 2012 - 2pm
Les Gwan Jupons
(l-r) Cory Wright, clarinet - Rob Ewing, trombone - Lisa Mezzacappa, acoustic bass
John Hanes, percussion - John Finkbeiner, guitar
Les Gwan Jupons play vintage party music from the French, Spanish and English-speaking Caribbean ... biguine from Martinique, calypso from Trinidad, cumbia from Colombia, cha-cha and bolero from Cuba.
The ensemble, the brainchild of bassist Lisa Mezzacappa and guitarist John Finkbeiner, was born out of both musicians' love for the music of the Caribbean and vintage sounds of the African Diaspora. Mezzacappa traveled to Guadeloupe more than ten years ago in search of the traditional gwo ka music she had heard on a recording, and later researched jazz in the West Indies as an ethnomusicology graduate student at U.C. Berkeley. Finkbeiner has long arranged, composed and produced recordings with a homegrown dub reggae band that features some of the Bay Area's most accomplished jazz musicians.
This new project, named in French Creole for the puffy skirts traditionally worn by women at Carnival celebrations, translates music from favorite recordings of the 1930s to 60s to the context of a contemporary acoustic "jazz " ensemble. The instrumentation is inspired by the biguine bands of Martinique dancehalls in the 1930s.
Guitarist John Finkbeiner has performed and recorded with the best and brightest in the Bay Area music scene — as a member of Darren Johnston’s United Brassworkers Front, the Smith Dobson V Quartet, Lisa Mezzacappa’s Bait & Switch, Aaron Bennett’s Go-Go Fightmaster, Adam Lane’s Full Throttle Orchestra, Vijay Anderson’s Hardboiled Wonderland Sextet, and Scott Larson’s Red Light Abatements, among many others. As recording engineer and co-founder of New, Improved Recording in Oakland, CA, John has shaped the sound of an emerging generation of West Coast creative musicians. He also leads his own dub reggae-jazz group Guerrilla Hi-Fi, and tours the world as an in-demand garage rock guitarist.
Lisa Mezzacappa has been active in the Bay Area music community for more than ten years, as a double bassist, composer, collaborator and musical instigator. In addition to Les Gwan Jupons, she leads her own groups Bait & Switch, Nightshade and Soft Pitch; and is part of the collaborative ensembles duo B., Cylinder, and the Permanent Wave Ensemble. She also performs as a sideperson in nearly a dozen original jazz and chamber groups, in ensembles led by Aaron Novik, Beth Custer, Graham Connah, Cory Wright, Randy McKean, Steve Adams, Cory Wright, Marco Eneidi and others. She has recorded on the Tzadik, Clean Feed, NoBusiness, Kadima, Leo, Edgetone, Porto Franco, Odd Shaped Case and Evander record labels, and performed widely in the Bay Area, New York, and abroad, including the Monterey Jazz Festival; Earshot Jazz Festival, Seattle; the Montreal Jazz Festival, Canada; and the Novara Jazz Festival in Italy.
Listen here : lesgwanjupons.bandcamp.com