Beyond Django at The Queen’s Hall Edinburgh this evening was a rare chance to catch two of the best exponents of Manouche or gypsy-jazz on the one bill, both honouring in their own way the spirit of the music and the legacy of Django Reinhardt.
From Bruxelles, renowned Manouche musician Tcha Limberger, leader of “Les Violons de Bruxelles” and from Scotland, “Rose Room” who are not only currently Scottish Jazz Band of the year, but lead vocalist, arramger and violinist Seonaid Aitken is currently Scottish Jazz singer of the year (for the second consecutive year).
Presented by Visit Brussels and Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival with support funding from many sources (including The Scottish Government), this event is part of a three day special event called “Thrill – Jazz from Bruxelles” with more musical events taking place at The Jazz Bar in Chambers Street and St Bride’s Centre in Orwell Terrace between Thursday 07 and Saturday 09 February. For more information visit
Performing in our first half, Tcha Limberger, with “Les Violons de Bruxelles”. How to describe best Tcha Limberger and his music to anyone not familiar with it? The answer is probably, “don’t even try”. Tcha Limberger comes from a gypsy family lineage that is steeped in the music and traditions of Manouche/gypsy jazz, but his interests in music are far wider and more diverse than just one style or genre.
Tcha Limberger has been influenced by so many styles of music, European Jazz, American Blues, Flamenco, Argentinian, Eastern Folk Music and so much more. All of these influences were explored on stage tonight with an ease of presentation that so often made the difficult look so natural and effortless as innovative arrangements seamlessly blended musical styles into something very unique.
Our innovation starts even with the line-up of musicians as Tcha Limberger has replaced the standard gypsy jazz band line up with three violins, lead guitar and acoustic bass and some standards to this new format as well as performing his own compositions.
Some musicians play music and play it very well, but other musicians seem to have music itself flowing through their bodies and souls, and Tcha Limberger is one of the latter.
Just as interesting as the music to me is that when Tcha Limberger immerses himself in a musical culture, he also immerses himself in the language of that culture to understand the music better. As a consequence of this, he is also fluent in many languages.
Rose Room, who closed our evening with the second half of this show, are very much part of the live Scottish music scene and vocalist Seonaid Aitken, Jimmy Moon (double bass), Tam Gallagher (rhythm guitar) and Tom Watson (lead guitar) are familiar faces to many regulars to live Scottish music events.
Like Tcha Limberger, Rose Room share a deep love of Manouche/gypsy jazz, and in particular the musical legacies of guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stéphane Grappelli and their collaborations as members of “The Quintette du Hot Club de France”. Rose Room are also writers of their own music that blends seamlessly into gypsy jazz standards. Rose Room not only have the skills required to play standards like “Joseph Joseph” and “Dark Eyes”, but when Seonaid Aitken adds timeless vocals to a song like “Don’t Worry About Me”, something special always happens on stage.
Tcha Limberger,“Les Violons de Bruxelles” and Rose Room all share one thing in common and that is a deep lovie of this music, and the pleasure that everyone on stage in these two performances was having from just playing their music was infectious to their audience too as they shared that music and pleasure with everyone in The Queen’s Hall.
Review by Tom King