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Go Van Gogh

Go Van Gogh, the talented San Francisco ensemble, play music for a middle eastern western, a seductive mix of jazz and world music that rocks. Well known and well respected for both their recordings and live shows, Go Van Gogh are led by the husband/wife team of saxophonist Connie and bassist Jesse Walkershaw. The band has been in the making for over a decade traveling from San Francisco to Europe to New York and back under the names Jungle Dinner and Comic Book Opera before settling on Go Van Gogh. They are poised and ready to rock the world!

Go Van Gogh has a story, but most of it, I have been persuaded, is not for consumption by the public at large. Being a participant in this drama, I have a biased, and some say jaundiced, view of the proceedings. What I am allowed to impart is but the small left hand bones that are stuck half out the closet door. The harmless facts of time and place, lacking the gruesome pot boiler of this turgid romance between people power and the music they worship.

The story starts just before Halloween 1982. Three disparate individuals find each other through bulletin boards, networks of friends, and happenstance. They seem to be moving in a similar direction, just from far flung origins. Over the next 3 years they build a machine, adding and discarding parts as this vessel is buffeted by the forces of time culture and personality. They finally run aground on a Brussels sidewalk. One fleeing the scene, fleeing music, never to be heard again. The other two pick themselves up, brush off their fabulous raiments, and continue down the road towards now.

Flash forward, San Francisco. 3 years of opening the way for original instrumental music to blossom in their home town, a critically acclaimed debut album under the name Comic Book Opera. Summer of 89 buskin from the green Aegean to the murky Seine. New York City for three more years wandering in the wilderness. A shiny automatic, a half eaten donut, a brief tussle on the subway stairs and our friends are back again.

And then there was Go Van Gogh.

While I had been on top of Mount Sinai arranging things with god, those who had followed us out of Egypt had rushed headlong into idolatry. Replacing there own creativity with the wonderful ideas of Miles Davis. How could I hear the thoughts in my own head, I said, if I was busy thinking the thoughts of another. We could no more play his music , than we could have lived his life. The door we had helped open in 1986 was now leading nowhere. Rather than bow to the conventions of those times we opened ourselves to the interesting potentials of modal eastern melodicism, married to the pump it up possibilities of our roots in American culture. The results were two fine records consisting of twin Saxophones, Violin, Bass and Trap set, the euphonious "Go Van Gogh" on the Accretions label, and our second CD aptly named "One".

Quite a roster of players flowed through the band over those years. First Sax chair and main compositional duties were completely filled by Connie Walkershaw on Alto and Soprano.

Our violinist on this recording is Mark Chung, who usually graces a bit more modern classical or Gypsy Jazz swing. I think he does us proud. The wonderful Sabrina has added the real deal of Middle Eastern rhythms into our widening aural mix. Oh... and of course my own minor role in this story, Jesse Walkershaw as the Bass player.

As all good things must get better, and even if others tastes don't change, ours certainly do, we reformatted the band for the new Century, by adding Sam Tsitrin on Guitar. Look for us.


Various Artists: 30
CAT. #: ALP059
30 is a compilation featuring rare archival and early vinyl-only releases, previously unreleased recordings and previews of upcoming releases.

Go Van Gogh
CAT. #: ALP008
On their debut CD, these gypsies on acid are armed at the front lines with two sax players and a viloinist whose harmonic contours reveal an alluring meld of Middle Eastern folk, jazz and classical traditions. Their vibrant melodies surge and glisten with a richness of groove grounded in tasty funk.

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"...scampering through Coltrane and Grappelli territory, through multi-national flavors ranging from Morocco to Sri Lanka, set against stateside adds up to a belly-dancing good time."
- JazzTimes

"This band jazzes and world-rocks all night long, and there's not a guitar in sight."
- Dirty Linen

"Inventive, modern, funky, hook-laden and then some, and joyously danceable...GVG is a remarkably tight unit performing invigorating compositions. Primary composer Connie Walkershaw writes creative, descriptive pieces hat are technically and sonically beautiful..." - Metro Active Audiofile

"...jazz-funk-gypsy-world dance music..."
- San Francisco Bay Guardian

" of the most delightful world jazz albums I've heard this year."
- San Francisco Weekly

"Divinely sublime." -Cake

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