Bute’s own gypsy jazz quartet, Les Gitanes, take to the water on Sunday, July 5 on board the world famous paddle steamer, Waverley, in a bid to bring the vibrancy of the Isle of Bute Jazz Festival to a new audience.
The gypsy jazz group will be entertaining passengers on the world renowned paddle steamer as she travels from Bute to Brodick on the neighbouring island of Arran, and then down the Arran coast to Holy Isle before returning to Rothesay via Brodick.
Tim Saul, chairman of the Isle of Bute Jazz Festival, who also leads Les Gitanes, said: “Waverley is an ideal of way of bringing easy listening jazz to a new audience who may often be familiar with the music but not necessarily our interpretation.
“The Gypsy style or Jazz Manouche is a niche market, with a rapidly growing and dedicated following,” acknowledges Tim.
“The music is far too good to allow to die. We are pushing the wheel full circle until new generations realise its value and its mass popularity comes back.”
Prompted by Waverley enthusiast James McMillan, the committee approached Waverley Excursions with the idea of a jazz cruise and the response was extremely enthusiastic.
“It is a very significant year for Waverley which celebrates her 40th year in preservation – in fact she has now had a longer career in this guise than she had in commercial operation,” commented Tim.
The annual Isle of Bute Jazz Festival over the May Day bank holiday attracts an audience from all over the world, and the Waverley event, which sets sail from Rothesay pier at 1.40pm next Sunday, is designed to promote the 2016 event.
Gypsy quartet Les Gitanes play in the style of the great Django Reinhardt and the fabulous Hot Club de Paris and is made up of Tim Saul, acoustic guitar, Alec Mack, acoustic guitar, Keith McIntyre, rhythm guitar and Paul McKay, upright bass.
It was formed as a trio two years ago, having been inspired by the likes of Glasgow based Rose Room and Havana Swing from Dundee, with Keith turning it into a quartet last year. The band is currently practising hard with a view to recording its first CD later this year.
“Our performances on Waverley will promote gypsy jazz to a new audience and perhaps bring back memories of their youth to others,” said Tim.
“We very much hope some of them will be encouraged to come along to our 29th Isle of Bute Jazz Festival next May Day Bank holiday.”
The Waverley began her summer programme of Firth of Clyde cruises last week, and will be a regular visitor to Rothesay between now and the end of August.
Normal Waverley fares will apply to this Sunday’s Jazz Cruise event.