Y Pengwern, Llan Ffestiniog   Saturday 6 April  

The immensely popular jazz quartet, Billy Thompson Gypsy Style, perform at the community run Y Pengwern, Llan Ffestiniog  on Saturday 6 April with their very special mix of Hot Club numbers made famous by Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt, plus fiery Hungarian tunes and Romany gypsy anthems.

 A finalist in the UK’s Young Jazz Musician of the Year competitions in 1996 and 1998, jazz violinist Billy Thompson was promptly engaged by the compere, Jules Holland, to perform with him at St David’s Hall, Cardiff, whilst among the judges were Selena Jones, who invited him to appear on her next album, and Barbara Thompson. As a result, for several years Billy has been an integral member of seminal jazz/rock outfit,
“Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia”, with John Hiseman on drums. He has headlined twice at London’s Ronnie Scott’s, in 2008 performed an extremely successful tour of Japan, and has toured Europe extensively, all with Paraphernalia,
featuring on five of the band’s albums.

Performing in the gypsy jazz style, as he will be at Y Pengwern, Billy has played with international guitarists Gary Potter, John Etheridge, Andreas Oberg, Martin Taylor, Howard Alden and more. One of the highlights of his career took place in July 2011, when Billy Thompson Gypsy Style, whose CD was recorded live at North Wales Jazz’s Wrexham venue, played on the main stage at one of the most prestigious gypsy music events in the world, the International Gypsy Guitar Festival in Gossington, Gloucestershire. To quote Jazz UK magazine, “This violinist can really cut loose on a tune
and tear up a performance, or draw a kaleidoscope of expression from a chosen ballad”.

Billy is also well known in Wales for his work with Meic Stevens and with his gypsy band the Amigos, performing and recording with both outfits since 1997.  More recently, he featured on a brand new concept album by Manfred Mann, whilst his original Welsh project, “Amledd”, co-written with singer/songwriter wife, Rhian,
is currently hitting the airwaves.

Completing the line-up of Billy’s quartet are
Eryl Jones (guitar, vocals and mandolin),
Phil Gardiner (rhythm guitar) and Greg Robley (bass).

The concert commences at 8.30pm and admission is £4. Further information is available from Y Pengwern on 01766 762200 / and from the North Wales Jazz Society on 01745 812260