Live @ at the McDonald Winery (New Zealand, 1997)
I found this CD in the sales rack in Port Vila’s only record shop. It burned shortly after … At first I was intrigued by the name, especially when I realized (i) none of the musicians are from Kenya but they're all Kiwis and (ii) there are four members in the trio …
Then I was fortunate to hear them playing live at the Port Vila’s Four Days Jazz in Paradise Festival in 2005. Various bands from the Pacific region (Australia, New Caledonia and New Zealand) were playing in hotels around town. This event was supposed to be repeated the next year but I understand the organizers lost too much money the first year so it couldn’t be repeated. Too bad as it was an occasion to see and hear some interesting performers such as Nairobi Trio, Aussie Jazz legend The Galopagos Ducks and New Caledonia’s B-3 Wizard Michel Benebig with his band, performing in beautiful settings.
The Nairobi Trio has been around for over twenty years and is now a bit of a New Zealand music institution These guys are everything but your standard "gypsy swing revival-i-play-faster-than-django" type of band. They do have “hot club” style tunes (I’m coming home Virginia, All of Me) in their repertoire but they do not try to sound like a Django / Grappelli clone. They play these tunes in a typically kiwi, relaxed and easy, way. There is something like a "west coast" feel in their music (i'm talking West Coast in rock term: remember David Laflamme / It's a Beautiful Day?). At times they sound like a Kiwi version of Dan Hicks & his Hot Licks (“Swing is the Thing”). The Grappelli influence is obvious in Richard Adams violin playing (just listen to All my tomorrow) but their overall sound and style are rather fusion oriented with some obvious folk / rock influences (“East of Eden”) verging sometimes toward smooth jazz (“Take Good Care of my Heart”). An obvious reference is David Grisman country-jazz / dawg jazz. If you like David Grisman’s albums (think of Quintet '80 or Hot Dawg for instance), you’ll probably enjoy this band.