Initially formed as an all-acoustic trio brought together by a mutual adoration for French gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt, Atlanta’s Bonaventure Quartet quickly grew beyond the four musicians that the name suggests. The band found and added more great musicians they just couldn’t live without, and forged a diverse sound unlike anything else heard in the Atlanta area.
Bonaventure Quartet will be performing “classic standards, western swing, gypsy jazz, and original compositions” this Friday at Eddie’s Attic, and Andrew Chatwood got an inside look at the band.
What is the strangest thing a fan has done for you or at your show?
For 4 years we played every Wednesday night at Eclipse Di Luna in Buckhead, and whenever someone would ask me what kind of place it is, I would say its a tapas bar. 9 out of 10 times they would think I said topless, and I would have to correct their impression. But sometimes they weren’t too far off, there were definitely some things that went on there that I don’t think I should relate.
What is the funniest moment you have had as an artist?
Hmmm, one time we were playing a show outside somewhere. It was a beautiful evening, golden sky, perfect temperature, the moon was rising, and the audience was hanging on every note. Then, just as our singer, Amy Pike, took a breath to sing the last note of a song, she sucked in a bug, started choking, and her face turned red while we brought the song in for a crash landing. No one got hurt, though and a glass of water later, Amy was fine.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Well, besides reciting the Boy Scout pledge, singing Palestrina in 4 part harmony, and doing some sit ups, no, not really. A lot of people put their emphasis on preparing for the show and we respect that, but we try to focus just as much on the post-show rituals like a couple of Sweetwater 420s and maybe a quesadilla or two from La Fonda. I find their spinach and shrimp quesadilla goes a long way towards restoring my delicate spiritual balance after a few strenuous hours of gypsy jazz.
If you could describe your music in one word, what would it be?
How do you connect with a crowd?
Oh, all the usual ways. We supply name-tags when people come in, so everyone can know everybody’s name. Then maybe we have a few people come up on stage and tell the audience about their favorite summer experiences. Ask them questions, like “what is the strangest thing you’ve ever done?” or “what was your funniest moment?” That sort of thing. Sometimes we get a big sing along going of Kumbaya with everyone holding hands.
How did you decide on your band name?
Well, for awhile I wanted to call it the Cabbagetown Penguins, but no one was particularly enthusiastic. I don’t know why. But you know how actors get their stage names, right? You take the street you live on and your middle name. Well, I live on Bonaventure Ave and my middle name is Quartet, so we just went with that.
What is the best way to write music?
I’m sure everyone has methods they use. I’ve heard things like drinking 2 cups of green tea, followed by ingestion of artichoke matter, then shuffling a deck of tarot cards and picking out random cards works pretty good. Apparently then you just read the tarot card symbol and write the first thing that comes into your head. I think that’s what Justin Timberlake does. I haven’t tried that one yet, but it’s probably as good a way as any. Maybe my next song will be about a guy who is answering a bunch of questions for a magazine, but he has no idea what he’s talking about.
Make sure to get your tickets to see Bonaventure Quartet, this Friday at Eddie’s Attic!
Tickets $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Table seats are $18.75 in advance, $23.75 at the door and must be purchased in multiples of 4.