Chez La Vie play acoustic Gypsy Jazz, also know as Gypsy Swing. This is music inspired by the legacy of Django Reinhardt, the gypsy guitarist who is one of the forgotten heroes of jazz. He flourished in the 30s and 40s and developed a famous partnership with violinist Stéphane Grappelly in the Quintette du Hot Club de France.

We play classic tunes from all the way through the twentieth century. It's a vibrant mix of jazz and Eastern European melodies, played with a gypsy flavour and the occasional modern twist. You'll hear toe-tapping swing tunes and mournful clarinet pieces, as well as popular vocal classics from the era. The links below will give you an idea of what we sound like and what we play.

Click Soundcloud for some recordings. There's a sampler from our repertoire - 4 minutes of snippets of what we do. There's also some other tracks which were recorded live at a local pub (the Tally Ho in Littlehempston), so there's plenty of atmosphere. 

We're usually a quartet: clarinet/guitar, two more guitars and bass (plus vocals). We sometimes play as a trio and occasionally have guest musicians who add to our sound. (We've enjoyed playing with Kate Cameron (vocals), Dave Head (percussion),  Becky Doe (violin), Toby Morgan (guitar), Chris Glassfield (guitar), Rich Bailey (guitar), Christian Wallner (guitar), Steve Chisholm (vocals), Beth Watson (vocals), Kat Squire (vocals), Carl Gibbs (clarinet), Tim Sayer (trumpet), Mick Green (soprano saxophone), and Mel Scullion (violin) and Hannah Sterry (flute), both from Hot Club of Stonehouse.)

We're primarily an acoustic group, well-suited to small venues. When we play you can still have a conversation in the same room. (We do have our own PA for a bigger sound if you need it.) 

John, Richard and Ollie at the 'New Walk'.

Chez La Vie 

Steve Verge: vocals, guitar, mandolin and harmonica (

Oliver Watson: clarinet and guitar

John Layton: guitar

Richard Hopper: bass 

We are based in Totnes, South Devon and are available for weddings, restaurants, private events, arts centres, etc.  

Here's a report by Wed magazine on a wedding we played for at The Green in Cornwall: "Gypsy swing band Chez La Vie jazzed up the drinks reception . . . "  

The bride said, "The music was so important to us and, from the soprano in the church to the gypsy swing band on the lawn and the amazing rock n' roll band in the evening, all the music made the day extra special."

 If you're interested in booking us, then contact Steve to discuss what you want - see the details below.

Steve and Ollie.


Friday 17 May, at the Tally Ho in Littlehempston

To discuss booking Chez La Vie for your own event, contact Steve:     07989 068 825