Pictured with The Muted Jewel Tones
Hailing from France, Belarus, Israel, Mexico, NYC, Alabama and Indiana, this hot club began playing together in the Mission District of San Francisco in 2018.
Their lineup brings the big sound of a full Gypsy Swing/Bal-musette group, including violin, clarinet, accordion, upright bass, and both nylon and steel string acoustic guitars!
A core repertoire of lightning hot gypsy jazz evokes the ambience of a smoky Parisian café, complimented with sounds from neighboring acoustic genres including the Spanish, Irish, Balkan, New Orleans, and Klezmer traditions.
Born in Belarus, Sasha emigrated to Canada via Israel at a young age. He studied saxophone with Igor Guletsky in Toronto, being trained in classical music. Upon Igor's passing he willed his clarinet to his pupil, and Sasha carries this instrument to this day.
After playing saxophone for 18 years, Sasha was inspired when he heard clarinet on Balkan and Gypsy jazz records and at live shows in San Francisco. He studied the clarinet with Teddy Raven.
Hélène grew up in the lovely city of Saint-Malo in Brittany, France. After learning classical violin at the Conservatoire de Saint-Malo, she became fascinated with the music of Eastern Europe, from Klezmer to Balkan to Gypsy Jazz.
She first studied Gypsy Jazz in Paris with violinist Daniel John Martin and Balkan music with Loran Bozic. Hélène holds a PhD from Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM) in Paris.
Originally from Mexico, Roberto studied flamenco guitar and dance in Madrid and Sevilla. He began his professional career at ‘La Bodega’, one of the first flamenco venues in San Francisco where he was a featured artist for many years.
He is a founding member of ‘The Flamenco Room’ at The Thirsty Bear. Roberto works regularly with the best flamenco talent in the San Francisco Bay Area such as La Tania, Carola Zertuche and Melissa Cruz.
Robert Kennedy is a Hammond organist, pianist, and accordionist born and raised in the American South and moved to the Bay Area in 1988. He played piano in the Stanford University Jazz Band and studied jazz piano with the great player, director, and educator Bill Bell.
Robert has shared stages with renowned players such as Nancy Wright, Calvin Keys, Will Weston, Terrence Brewer, and many more. He has released two albums as a bandleader on Hammond Organ; his 2018 album "Closer to Home" peaked at #1 on RMR’s jazz chart, #5 on NACC’s jazz chart, and #32 on JazzWeek’s Top 50.
At the heart and soul of the group is one of the most respected and well-liked players in Northern California. Bing studied double bass with Stuart Sankey in NYC before attending the Oberlin Conservatory of Music where he played in the Orchestra conducted by Igor Stravinsky!
His credits are too long to list but include The Saddle Cats (Western Swing), Macy Blackman and the Mighty Fines (Jump Blues), and The Mood Swing Orchestra (Big Band Swing). A cd of Bing's original tunes, "Original Bing", was released in late 2019.
On performing this music:
"The tonal signatures of this style are hypnotic and alluring, and I have a special affinity for music from acoustic instruments.
The artistry and craftsmanship of the wood is in many ways still a superior technology to create a beautiful sonic palette."