VIDEO: Jazz trio, tap dancer showcase talents for City College

Trio Gadjo and Claudia Gomez share European jazz style


Trio Gadjo performs jazz with tap dancer Claudia Gomez at San Diego City College, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2022. Photo by Shamere Grimes/City Times Media

Shamere Grimes, Multimedia Journalist

Approximately 20 students and faculty gathered to listen to the European-style jazz group Trio Gadjo play their music and watch Claudia Gomez dance on a sunny afternoon in San Diego City College’s Curran Plaza on Oct. 20.

As students arrived, sitting on the grass and under the shade of the trees, they enjoyed their lunch and listened, moving to the music.

The type of music and dancing performed by the group often shifted from really fast to slow and steady, but ultimately, created an atmosphere where a person could snap their fingers and tap their feet.

The sound of the guitar and the cello complemented the rhythmic sounds of tap.

“I especially love dancing to this style of jazz,” dancer Gomez said.

European jazz is a unique style of music that is typically performed in a small group and originated in France in the 1930s. This style of jazz was made famous by Django Reinhardt.

Reinhardt drew much inspiration from musicians like Louis Armstrong and was the first major jazz musician to emerge in Europe, often considered one of the greatest and most influential guitarists of all time.

Trio Gadjo is a local band that got its start back in 2007.

Three friends – Jason Durbin, Jeremy Eikam and Aaron Mahn – have been performing at venues all over San Diego since then.

In 2008 Gomez joined the group and applied her dancing to their unique style.

Mike Espar, director of the World Cultures program at City College, told the crowd he once saw the group perform at a different venue and asked them to perform for students and faculty.

The musicians made a point of mentioning their performances are mostly improvisation and are not choreographed.

“We play the theme of the song and then everybody improvises over chord changes,” guitarist Aaron Mahn said.

They have a small pattern they try to follow but mostly they just try to go with the flow.

To learn more about upcoming World Cultures events, click here.