The Lawless Firm has been in existence for about 3 years now. It started out as a trio with Michael and Eleanore Dunn and Don Ogilvie. Knowing there is a market for the classic American songs from the 30s and 40s, we embarked on building a repertoire of this music adding two more musicians along the way. Edgar Bridwell on jazz violin and Joe Bourchier on bass.
Michael and Don have been partners in musical crime for over 40 years. They recorded a CD together called “Djali to Django in 2002. They collaborated on an instructional video called “Django’s Rhythm” explaining the intricacies of Gypsy jazz rhythm. Don has played on ships all travelling over the world and has played in Europe and China.
Edgar was discovered playing Mendelssohn in a church and upon questioning him on this activity, he revealed that he had played fiddle for the late Ray Condo. So now we have someone who can play anything from baroque violin to swing. Joe, a journeyman bassist has completed the quintet. Eleanore, our chanteuse has what could be described as an “old fashion voice” ideally suited to our repertoire. And our music contains elements of Gypsy jazz, blues, and eclectic music from parts far away. Michael has spent over 50 years as a luthier and has been at the core of Gypsy jazz in Vancouver since the 60s. He has specialized in making Gypsy guitars for many decades. He spent 3 years in Spain being trained as a classical and flamenco guitar maker and was the first luthier to make Gypsy jazz guitars in Canada.
The group has been looking into several of the more obscure compositions by Django Reinhardt. Songs that are rarely played and even more rarely heard. They have recently resuscitated an almost historically forgotten composition called Bolero which Django recorded in 1937. It was performed in 1942 in Paris on the same bill as Ravel’s famous bolero. It really is Django’s only known classical composition.
The Gypsy jazz style of playing jazz was invented by Django and the quintette of the Hot Club of France and this format presents us with a somewhat different approach to the American Songbook. Or several different genres of music. It has proven to be a timeless style that has been with us for ninety years. All started by a creative person with a badly injured left hand inventing a new way to play the guitar.