Rose Room, and their final show at The Merchant’s Hall in Hanover Street, was a perfect performance to be nearing the close of this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe with.
Rose Room are violinist and vocalist Seonaid Aitken (recently voted best vocalist at the Scottish Jazz Awards), Jimmy Moon (double bass), Tam Gallagher (rhythm guitar) and Tom Watson (lead guitar). They are always a delight to see and hear in performance, and for anyone not familiar with Rose Room, they are simply one of the best gypsy jazz bands around at the moment. Their sheer enthusiasm for, and pleasure at performing, this music is obvious, and infectious, and the band perfectly capture both the sounds and the essence of Paris in the 1930s and 1940s with Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt, plus as you would expect from musicians of this quality, some of their own music that fits seamlessly into this style.
Seonaid Aitken and Tom Watson upfront are a perfect duo that seem to always know exactly where the other one is in the music. Faultless and inspired fiddle playing from Seonaid as always and impressive guitar skills from Tom Watson set the tone for the show from the very first few notes, and keeping everything in perfect rhythm all evening - Jimmy Moon (double bass) and Tam Gallagher (rhythm guitar). Not forgetting of course that wonderful crystal clear voice of Seonaid’s that always sounds like it belongs in some timeless age. You can so easily imagine somehow turning on your radio in the 1930s and hearing Seonaid’s voice over the airwaves.
Gypsy Jazz is about a feel for music, sharing that enjoyment with an audience and at the very best level of it, making the very difficult technical side of the music look absolutely effortless. Rose Room, as is so obvious in classic standards that included “Bossa Dorado”, “Joseph Joseph”, Django Reinhardt’s “Dark Eyes” and Charles Trenet’s “Menilmontant” mixed in with their own material from their last album “The High Life”, clearly have all of these qualities in abundance.
As always with any Rose Room show a perfect combination of technical ability coupled with the sheer joy of performing the music itself and that feel good factor reached everyone in the room here.
Review by Tom King