This city of New Orleans is famous for music. There’s a new scene developing in recent years in this vibrant tapestry of musical color. Gypsy Jazz music has made its way to the stages of one of the world’s most renowned cities. Jon Roniger Gypsyland was born from this revolution. Even Paydon, on double bass, hailed from years in the Hot Club scene in Milwaukee and Brett Gardner, on guitar, plays five nights a week in Gypsy and Swing bands throughout New Orleans. Jon Roniger, playing rhythm guitar and singing, takes a Gypsy approach to his original material in this lineup as well as covering some classic Django Reinhardt standards. In only its first year, Jon Roniger Gyspyland is a mainstay on local stages in New Orleans as well as being selected to perform the world famous French Quarter Festival in 2017.
There’s only one local New Orleans artist who boasts the success of writing all original music, collaborating with other recognized songwriters, performing live on a daily basis, and writing for film and television, all while staying true to his musical influences. Jon Roniger does not shy away from being slick, sly and charming as he wraps himself up in authenticity, embodying a combination of the legendary local Harry Connick Jr., as well as the iconic Tom Waits, Paul Simon, and Randy Newman.
After spending years traveling the world, Roniger is proud of his roots in New Orleans. He playfully sings odes to NOLA’s infamous streets, historic landmarks and succulent foods. He delivers it all in a sweet, melodic vocal style, mixed with moments of beautifully rough and fast-paced singing reminiscent of Bob Dylan channeling Donald Fagen. It leaves the listener wondering how he’s mastered blending them all together.
With his vast repertoire of a dozen albums to date, including "Maniac World" in 2016, "Live at the Mint" in 2015, the 2014 "Gypsyland" in which he sings primarily in French, "Dirty Gypsy" in 2013 which boasts an ambitious track listing of 28 acoustic songs, and "NOLA Rolls" as his 2012 EP, Roniger is no stranger to versatility. While he refers to his musical content and style as "twisted tales from the seedy side", he consciously writes in ways that evoke happiness, laughter, light sways of romance, sadness, and a sudden urge to dance. He does this seamlessly from one song to the next, while staying true to his influences.
A brief stint in Nashville has garnered Roniger the privilege to write with and/or for independent and signed artists who call Music City their home. His primary co-writer is the talented and well-known Chris Gantry, who had a #1 hit, "Dreams of the Everyday Housewife" in 1968, and worked with musical legends including Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson.
When Roniger is not busy creating magical concoctions of jazz, folk and blues for his own albums, or writing in a variety of styles for others, he can be found writing and composing music for film and television. You can hear his work in the feature film "Island of Fantasy", TV shows "Platinum Babies", "I Used To Be Fat", "Extreme Couponing", various songs on HGTV and a theme song for UK Based company, Bedford for Beds. In addition, he can be seen in a small acting roll for a Belvita Breakfast Snacks commercial from 2014 and in Nashville’s Rhinestone Wedding Chapel from 2013.
As a relatively new transplant to New Orleans, Brett Gardner has proved himself as a reliable sideman and performer in Frenchmen Street jazz circuit. Striving to be a balanced guitarist, Brett focuses on strengthening and unifying rhythm, harmony and melody while developing a unique personality on the instrument. He currently performs with Dinosaurchestra, Smoking Time Jazz Club, Jon Roniger Gypsyland, Joe Goldberg's Function, and his own group, The Cigar Box Serenaders. In his free time, Brett is an upcycled musical instrument enthusiast and sells handmade cigar box guitars.
Evan came from a family of choir singers and began his love for music at a young age. He began playing trumpet at age 10 and found the electric bass at the age of 17. He went to college to study psychology but the call to perform was too strong. Throughout college he performed and studied jazz music and found teachers in the Chicago and Milwaukee area to study with. He owes many late night practice sessions to the inspiration from Neal Chandek and Bill "The Bhudda" Dickens, as well as James Singleton of the Astral Project. After performing and teaching in Milwaukee for a number of years Evan moved to New Orleans and has found a vibrant second home for his musical aspirations.
Evan's relationship with music is significantly informed by improvisation. He believes it is the responsibility of a musician to become an open window through which the language of music can pass, and to understand music as the contribution of an articulate dialog to a greater conversation, the topic of which is betterment of self and community.
Evan has recording credits on well over a dozen albums throughout a variety of genres. He has had his music played on national television; in 2013 was a featured performer at MKE Bass Day; received and been nominated for various 88.9 Music Awards and Wisconsin Area Music Industry awards; performed at NAMM 2014 and NAMM 2015; and in 2009 was honored to be Shepherd Express' Runner up for Best Jazz Artist. He has played or shared the stage with Buddy Guy, Benny Golson, Willy Porter, Russ Johnson, Bill Dickens, Fred Boswell jr, Mike Maher (Snarky Puppy), Jason Ricci, Paul Cebar, Sam Llanas (The BoDeans), Kathy and Dave Jensen (Hornheads, Prince), Warren Weigratz, Simon Townsend, Dave Stoler, Jim Liban, Nick Moss Band, Devin Drobka, Eric Schoor (Brian Lynch), Jamie Breiwick, Shonn Hinton (John Legend, Lil' Wayne, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott), Rick Aaron, Kevin Hayden, Steve Peplin, Mike Dillon and Tank and the Bangas, to name a few.