Sometimes it’s a real blessing, a gift, to encounter music that isn’t dutifully trying to Prove Something, insisting that we admire its Authenticity. Guitarist Leo Forde has got the wonderful notion into his head and fingers that music, candid and gentle, ought to be enough for anyone. And he’s not only intellectually right, but emotionally so. I suspect that being born in Glasgow has something to do with it, but the JAZZ LIVES genetic scientists are still exploring that theory.
Listen to a few samples from his new CD, which floats on an engaging mixture of whimsy, sincerity, and feeling:
Here’s some information to help you out, now that you’ve heard the nicely swinging sounds.
I know that some listeners, eager to have their music put in its correct box, will call this “Gypsy jazz,” but it seems happily to be a light-hearted distillation of impulses larger than that title: Leo, John Rodli, and Nobu Ozaki, haven’t fallen into the dramatic excesses of that school: tempos that leave the listener gasping — whether for oxygen or in admiration, I never know — and soloing that chooses virtuosity over heartfelt melody.
Leo’s music is much more conversational: a group of friends sitting together, having a good time, exploring what might be played, supporting each other’s impulses to form a gentle small community.
I asked Leo to tell me a bit about himself and the band and he wrote back, I’m originally from Glasgow, Scotland and have been in New Orleans since 2014. I work mostly with Aurora Nealand, Meschiya Lake and The Hot Club of New Orleans. As you probably know, Rodli was an original member of the Jazz Vipers and King James and the Special Men and now plays with Doro Wat and The Palmetto Bug Stompers. Nobu plays alot with John Boutte. We were getting together during the pandemic at Three Muses on Frenchmen Street (which John’s wife Sophie Lee owns) and the album is the result. Since they reopened, we play at Three Muses and Cafe Degas once a week.
Gizinti is a made up Scottish word referring to a wake the night before a funeral because it’s when the coffin ‘goes intae’ the church. It seemed funny at the time.
I encourage you to chase down this CD — on Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube, Amazon, and soon on Bandcamp. It will refresh your spirits and the music, unassuming and kind, will stay with you in the nicest ways.
May your happiness increase!