FEATURE: Pixie and The Gypsies (debut album Honey Trap, Pizza Express Jazz Club 9 August)

Pixie & The Gypsies
Steve Leigh Funky Feet Photography

With music as warm as the campfire it was made to be played around, Pixie and The Gypsies are an ethereally beautiful new face on the scene. Gypsy jazz is credited to 1930's Romani guitarist Jean "Django" Reinhardt. But, if Pixie and The Gypsies are anything to go by, this genre is far from outdated. Honeyed vocals, hypnotic tempos and narrative driven lyrics, these bohemian style tunes are both vintage and contemporary. Brianna McClean reports:

Lead singer and band founder, Taylor Notcutt, is the self-titled "pixie". With her seductively smooth vocals and enchanting stage presence, this name seems deserved. Connie Chatwin is masterly on the violin, her fast pace and bright tonality giving the band its distinctive folk sound. Finally, Twm Dylan on double bass and Matthew Wilson on guitar round out the group. Pixie and The Gypsies were created during Taylor’s years at Trinity Laban. The joviality and connection between the members speak to this long-time friendship. The special ingredient in Pixie and The Gypsies is a good dose of fun. Add this to the immense talent of each member and you have a winning combination.

‘We have an approachable, easy to listen to style. But, there is a lot of depth and once you scratch the surface, you see there is a lot more going on’, said bassist, Twm Dylan. This is perhaps the best summary of what makes Pixie and The Gypsies so successful. Their soon-to-be-released debut album, Honey Trap, is both extremely listenable and musically ambitious. The tunes are structured simply, with catchy hooks and choruses. However, thoughtful lyrics, multilayered instrumentation and interesting rhythms place this album far above its pop competitors.

The title track, Honey Trap, is a playful song – both in musical texture and lyrics. Head Over Heart, a tune about the complexities of love, is reflective, thoughtful and lulling. Similarly, Before Anyone Else, is sweet and soulful, like the best of gypsy jazz, yet upbeat enough to please more pop-minded audiences. This selection showcases the musical energy and depth of feeling present in Pixie and The Gypsies’ work.

Taylor Notcutt’s voice is enviable. Impeccably controlled and highly expressive, the stories told throughout Honey Trap are made so much more by the voice that tells them. Elements of Amy Winehouse, Norah Jones and Ellie Goulding can be heard in Notcutt’s voice. Trudy Kerr had this to say: "Taylor is one of the UK's exciting young jazz singers. She is a great story teller and sings from the heart while she mesmerises you with her sultry tone.”

Pixie and The Gypsies bring a real sense of romanticism to the stage. Something about their polished and passionate presentation is not just talented, but joyful. Perhaps it is the unique combination of experience and liveliness. Or, perhaps it is a deep understanding of both tradition and a desire for freshness. Whatever it is, it’s palpable.

Honey Trap is being released on 10 August, with the band playing various gigs this summer in celebration. The album launch at Spice of Life Soho on 13 June was a sell-out, unsurprisingly given the quality of this record. Pixie and The Gypsies are holding another launch at Pizza Express on 9 August, with the official release the following day. With performances at Rye Jazz and Blues Festival and Cork Jazz Festival coming up, this group is going places.

Pixie and The Gypsies is exactly what audiences need this summer. They are seriously talented, and yet don’t take themselves too seriously. Willing to enjoy the beauty of gypsy jazz, it is truly enjoyable to witness this band in action. Honey Trap is a well-crafted record, ready to be put on repeat. Music which is truly easy to listen to, Pixie and The Gypsies are worth keeping an eye on as they rise to sure success. (pp)

Pixie and The Gypsies will be at Pizza Express Jazz Club (Soho) on 9 August.

LINK: Pixie and The Gypsies

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