Jeff Feldman, Brett Feldman, Scottie Kulman, Erick Cifuentes, and Eli Bishop
Occidental Gypsy is pioneering the sound of World Gypsy music. Their mélange of uptempo, high-energy rhythms of gypsy swing, melded with the catchy melodic hooks of pop and complex structures of jazz delivers a thrilling auditory experience to listeners.
Occidental Gypsy’s sound is appealing to a wide spectrum of people, and their shows consistently attract enthusiastic audiences at colleges, arts centers, festivals and clubs. Their fans include musicians who enjoy the sophisticated compositions and masterful play, yet most folks just come to enjoy the music and dance. The band has found a unique beat and bestows a dynamic mix of original vocal and instrumental pieces-- and a few memorable standards-- in fun, exhilarating performances. Occidental Gypsy's music cannot be easily classified; a bit of jazz, a catchy strain of pop, and "a whole lotta gypsified swing…"
Occidental Gypsy has played in over 22 states including shows at the legendary Nighttown in Cleveland, Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, and Blue Wisp in Cincinnati. Occidental Gypsy has shared the stage with such greats as Rikki Lee Jones, Jorma Kaukenen, Stanley Jordan, Joe Sample, Tony Rice, and David Bromberg, who also said about the band, "these guys have great singing, fantastic guitar and violin work, and high energy originals that leave the crowd crazy. An awesome band."
An Occidental Gypsy performance includes so much more than just music. Scottie, Eli, Brett, Jeff, and Erick are incredibly energetic and charming entertainers who interact with fans on a personal level, and incorporate audience participation into every show. On stage, the dialog between band members is entertaining, especially between the quick-witted Scottie and Brett who playfully tease one another to the delight of the audience. Perhaps this is why the Boston Globe has recommended them as a "Weekend Best Bet."
When Occidental Gypsy decided to gypsify Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” on the band’s debut album. "Over Here," released in 2011, they were quick to garner critical acclaim, and have continued to gather rave reviews and full houses during active touring. Motif Magazine wrote, “Listeners will surely be all in with Occidental Gypsy’s OverHere” and defined the band as “a terrific and unpretentious fab four”.
Occidental Gypsy was originally formed by brothers Brett (lead guitar) and Jeff Feldman (bassist) as a straight-ahead Gypsy Jazz Quartet. Through the release of Over Here and the addition of new members, the band has taken on a far more diverse, sophisticated, and eclectic sound. The group is fronted by Berklee trained singer and rhythm guitarist Scott (“Scottie”) Kulman, and supported by violinist Eli Bishop and percussionist Erick Cifuentes. The circumstances that brought this ensemble together are far from ordinary. Brett and Scottie serendipitously met on a park bench. Scott’s grandmother had approached the guitar-slinging Brett at the same park bench months earlier, speaking highly of her grandson’s musical talent. Scottie introduced Eli and Erick to the band, and occasionally taps international talents to join the band on stage like prodigy Yuki Nakajima and Jason Anick of the John Jorgenson Quintet.
Live, the band compliments original material with expertly arranged 'gypsified' covers. Occidental Gypsy’s unique approach to world, pop, jazz and dance music stems from the influence of Gypsy Swing founders, Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grapelli. The members of the group posses a deep knowledge and reverence for the Gypsy style and feel honored to bring their music to the ears of new audiences. And now, with an ever-growing list of performances, and presence online through website and social networking pages, Occidental Gypsy's fan base is constantly expanding.
The name Occidental Gypsy (Western gypsy) embodies the concept behind Gypsy World fusion. The group has taken the Gypsy sound that originated in Eastern Europe and brought it Over Here to blend it seamlessly with contemporary American music. Interestingly, Gypsy Swing was created by taking American Jazz to the East and blending it with the Gypsy Folk tradition. Now almost a century later Occidental Gypsy brings the music back home.