Swing Noire - Vermont Gypsy Jazz in Spirit of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli

Gypsy Jazz.

Call it what you may—Gypsy jazz, hot swing, jazz manouche. In any case Swing Noire invokes the energy of a swingin’ jazz club and transports audiences back to the early days of jazz with their unique take on Hot Swing in the spirit of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. Vermont’s newest acoustic, Hot Club style quartet, Swing Noire makes music that “will entrance and surprise you.”

"The Reinhardt acolytes genuinely channel American Hot Jazz, evoking images of smoky basement speakeasies and slinky cabarets."

Dan Bolles - Seven Days

Hot Swing.

Stephane and Django are credited with bringing this unique music into the world during the early 1930’s and creating some of the first jazz based outside of the African American tradition. Their Quintette of the Hot Club of France united jazz with the Manouche Gypsy music of Django's boyhood. If you haven’t heard this music (especially live) you are in for a treat - energy, soul, sophistication, ballads, blues, standards, improv.

"This is one of the hippest, happeningest groups in the state, so don't miss out!"

Barbara Ebling, Owner - The Ball and Chain

About Swing Noire.

about the band

Pine Island violinist David Gusakov, twins Rob and Jim McCuen on solo guitar and double bass, and rhythm guitarist Jared Volpe make up Vermont's newest acoustic, Hot Club style quartet. Visit the links above to find out more about Swing Noire.

Swing Noire

What made (and makes) this music unique is the use of 2 – 3 guitars of the Selmer/Maccaferri style, double bass, and in the traditional lineup, a swingin' violin. We take inspiration from the Romany, Sinti and Manouche diaspora who influenced Django Reinhardt along with the American Hot Jazz of the early 1900's.

Wegen Picks

Swing Noire is proud to be sponsored by Michel Wegen and his world famous Wegen Picks. Wegen picks are the highest quality picks available and are favorites of discerning musicians the world over.

David Gusakov - Violin

I first played western swing with Pine Island in the 70's, I moved to swing standards through several incarnations of Swing Shift in the 80's and 90's, and then hooked into Parisian swing with the Will Patton Ensemble (3 cd's to date).

David Gusakov on the violin

Extra inspiration came from meeting Stephane Grappelli backstage in NYC and later playing a gig with his bass player. I've written a few swing tunes (Hot Water on Pine Island's Live Inside album), and hope to do more.

I love and play many styles of music, but none frees my musical soul like swing, especially Parisian swing. The sizzle of the hot tunes, the slow-burn passion of the ballades - I think I was a troubadour in a past life!

Rob McCuen - Solo Guitar

Rob McCuen on the guitar

Rob began playing guitar at the age of 14, when his cello studies became too complicated. He strove to emulate the sounds of Hendrix, Clapton, and other rock gods, without much success. Rob began delving into jazz while in college, and continues his exploration to this day.

He has played in bands including T. Hatch, the Fairy Gangstas, and Wiley Dobbs, playing everything from bluegrass to jazz to hip-hop along the way. Rob and his musical cohorts have played at a variety of clubs and events, sharing the stage with bands such as Ma Ma Vig, Eddie From Ohio, and moe.

Jim McCuen - Double Bass

Jim McCuen on the bass

Jim joined the Upstate New York jam band Conehead Buddha in the early nineties, touring extensivesly and sharing the stage with the likes of Rusted Root, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and moe.

Jim eventually began moving in a different musical direction, buying an upright bass and moving to Colorado. He provided the bottom end for several groups, playing bluegrass and jazz throughout Colorado and New Mexico. Returning to the Northeast in 2000, Jim joined his brother Rob in the newgrass/jazz group Wiley Dobbs. The band has played clubs, festivals, and weddings throughout Upstate New York and New England for the past 5 years.

Jared Volpe - Rhythm Guitar

The short of it is that I have the hot swing bug. Can’t really stop listening to it. The grandparents raised me on jazz – the same jazz that inspired Django and Stephane – Armstrong, Ellington, Hawkings, Carter, et al. It’s a fit (I played the mandolin for almost 10 years before quitting cold turkey - I've seen the light.)

Jared Volpe on the guitar

Since then, I have be studying the art of ‘la pompe’ (aka the pump) - the harmonic and rhythmic foundation of the Gypsy jazz rhythm section. It is an art unto itself and I’m still finger painting, but I can make it sound pretty now and again. I've had the good fortune of studying rhythm with Dennis Chang, Hervé Gaguenetti, Michael Horowitz, and Dave Kelbie and most recently, The Roseneberg Trio.


The Repertoire

Django was a prolific composer, arranger and recorder. His tradition is alive and growing rapidly as seen not only in the virtuosic playing of The Rosenberg Trio, Bireli Lagrene, the Schmitt family, Angelo Debarre, Fapy Lafertin, Lollo Meier, Patrick Saussois, Jimmy Rosenberg, Ritary Gaguenetti, their bands and countless others, but also by the worldwide phenomenon of Hot Clubs.

Here is a taste of the tunes we do » After You've Gone, All of Me, Blue Drag, Bossa Dorado, Diminishing, Django's Castle, Djangology, Douce Ambiance, For Sephora, Heavy Artillerie, I Can't Give You Anything But Love, I'll See You In My Dreams, J'Attendrai, Limeshouse Blues, Mabel, Minor Blues, Minor Swing, Night and Day, Nuages, Oriental Shuffle,Si Tu Savais, Stompin' at Decca, Sweet Chorus, Sweet Georgia Brown, Swing '42, Swing Gitan, Tchavolo Swing, Tears, Troublant Bolero and others...

It's kind of like bluegrass... but better!

Tell your momma we told you.

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Drop us a line...

Did you hear us play? Want to book a gig? Do you know a great place for us to play? Any event planners in your black book? Don’t hesitate to pass on the names of restaurants, bars, galleries, coffee shops, clubs, cruises, wedding & event planners, caterers, festival organizers, etc. If you are so bold, let them know about our upcoming gigs.

Swing Noire is available for private engagements and regular performances at your event, business or fine establishment in Vermont and beyond.

Let Swing Noire recreate the energy of a swingin' 1930’s jazz club at your next event, cocktail party, house concert, corporate function or special celebration. Contact us for details.

We are hoping to play anywhere good music is heard. Keep your eye out for us and don’t hesitate to put in a good word at your favorite establishment.

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Send an email...

If you are interested in hearing about our gigs, send a message with subscribe in the message box.
We respect your privacy and we won't clog your inbox!

If you are not into forms, send us an email: info(at)swingnoire.com

Upcoming dates.

Check out our upcoming dates on Facebook.

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Places we've played.

Burlington Discover Jazz Festival

Burlington Discover Jazz Festival Burlington, VT

First Night Burlington Burlington, VT

Town Hall Theatre Middlebury, VT

Hen of the Wood at the Grist Mill Waterbury, VT

The Ball and Chain at the Briggs Carriage Bookstore Brandon, VT

The Acoustic Lounge, Parima Burlington, VT

51 Main Middlebury, VT

Vergennes Opera House Vergennes, VT

Vermont International Festival at the Champlain Valley Expo Essex, VT

The Bobcat Cafe Bristol, VT

The Bristol Bakery and Cafe Bristol, VT

Brandon Independence Day Celebration Brandon, VT

The Basin Harbor Club Vergennes, VT

Radio Bean Burlington, VT

Franconia Inn Franconia, NH

The Starry Night Cafe Ferrisburgh, VT

The Skinny Pancake Burlington, VT

The Black Door Bar and Bistro Montpelier, VT

The Langdon Street Café Montpelier, VT

On The Rise Bakery Richmond, VT

Vermont International Festival at the Champlain Valley Expo Essex, VT

Carol’s Hungry Mind Cafe Middlebury, VT

Two Brothers Tavern Lounge and Stage Middlebury, VT

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We are always looking for press. If you have a connection or would like to write a feature on Swing Noire, please get in touch.

VermontMusic Blog, 11/26/07

Seven Days, 12/12/07 (scroll down for story)

Rutland Herald, 3/13/08

Burlington Free Press, 5/31/08 (view the rest of the slideshow for more images)

Seven Days, 2/24/09

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