by Steve Chapman,
Special to The Mail
Gypsy jazz band La Pompe takes the stage at Benson’s Tavern & Beer Garden, 128 N. F St., at 7 p.m. Friday.
Rooted in 1920-30s Parisian jazz, the Denver band bounces among traditional American jazz, gypsy folk tunes, vintage blues, French ballads and an eclectic mix of original songs.
La Pompe released its debut album, “Lush,” in June.
All original material, the album merged classic jazz tunes with folk and blues-inspired songs.
The album is also sometimes experimental, with the group blending Django Reinhardt’s “Artillerie Lourde” with their creation, re-named “Heavy Cream.”
Well-known on the Front Range, La Pompe was nominated by Westword magazine as one the best jazz bands in Denver.
They’ve played numerous festivals, including Jazz Five Points, People’s Fair, City Park Jazz, Speakeasy Soiree and the Westword Music Showcase.
The group also has a weekly recurrent gig at Denver’s Union Station.
Beyond its jazz chops, La Pompe brings tunes to the dance floor, shifting into swing music from time to time. Toe-tapping and couples moving is the result.
The band features David Lawrence on vocals and guitar, Andrew Hannum on guitar, Kevin Laxar on upright bass and Erik Fellenstein on violin.
While called a jazz band, the group pushes away from labels. Their music includes gypsy swing, vintage blues and heavy use of a string quartet to create energetic, exciting sounds.