Gypsy Jazz by the Paulus Schafer Band – A Brief Insight

The Quarter has been India’s go-to jazz venue for a while now, and we’ve seen a range of impressive artists from some of the most eclectic corners of the genre come down here and perform. Paulus Schafer’s band has had a significant impact in the gypsy jazz community, especially amongst the Dutch. Accompanied by Mozes Rosenberg on guitar, Noah Schafer on bass and Dominique Paats on the accordion, their performance in Mumbai was a quintessential showcase of the style, colour and influence of gypsy music when demonstrated by masters of the craft.

Born and raised in a Sinti-Romani community, Paulus was surrounded by gypsy swing all his life, passed down the generations from family to family. He was particularly influenced by the work and style of Django Reinhardt, practicing for hours to his LPs and records. At different points in his life, Django incorporated different instruments into his arsenal such as the clarinet, saxophone and accordion, which inspired Paulus to re-visit these sounds himself. The band was essentially family members until 2012, when he met Dominique in Maastricht. Their chemistry from the very start was undeniable, to the extent that they went on stage and performed together without a single rehearsal. He has been a part of the band ever since.

For their performance at The Quarter, Paulus and the band performed popular jazz standards like I Can’t Give You Anything but Love, Honeysuckle Rose and All of Me, but in an improvised, gypsy style arrangement. They also performed some compositions by Django Reinhardt, along with the famous Stochelo Rosenberg, who happens to be Moses’ brother. A full house was pretty much expected, but the infectious stage performance, electrifying solos by every member and their intense chemistry, made the crowd go absolutely wild. In an in-depth interaction with the band, we also managed to gain further insights into their music and lives, available in the Decemberissue of our magazine. Overall, a must watch band both live and on record, for lovers of all kinds of conversational and historic music.