San Lyon is a progressive gypsy swing trio based in Los Angeles and comprised of guitarist Dani Vargas, vocalist Paige Herschell, and violinist/vocalist Jenna Colombet. Like so many musical endeavors, their journey began on a wine-soaked evening at the home of their mutual friends, producer Johannes Raassina and singer-songwriter Luna Achiary, with the communal jam sessions echoing through the Hollywood Hills. After confirming their musical compatibility in a more sober setting, the trio began playing tightly arranged standards at private events, house parties, and upscale eateries around Southern California.

 

As their repertoire expanded, Herschell, a veteran actor of both stage and screen having performed in such productions as the World Premiere of Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s bluegrass musical Bright Star as well as TV shows like American Housewife, brought a captivating presence to their live performances. All the while, Vargas, a virtuosic player of many styles from percussive fingerstyle to hyper technical metal and a tireless student of his craft delved deeper into his exploration of the gypsy swing cannon. Colombet, a former music educator, brought one of the first original songs to the table, the beautiful waltz “La Nuit,” composed in her native tongue of French. Naturally, more original music began to flow, making substantial reference to the gypsy swing tradition, but expanding upon it with influences from blues, modern jazz, folk, and bossa nova, among others. San Lyon’s songs span the three native languages of its members, English, French, and Spanish.

Their successful and increasingly consistent live gigs were unfortunately cut off abruptly with the onset of the Coronavirus Pandemic. But finding a silver lining is something artists are notoriously good at. San Lyon took the down time to begin a series of Live Stream shows that were tuned in to from at least four continents including the home countries of its three members, France, Chile, and the United States. They also recorded a series of three EPs to be released throughout 2021 including their unique arrangements of some of their favorite standards, as well as a number of originals. The first EP, “A,” came out in February, and “M” and “I” are soon to follow which to spell out “Ami” or “Friend” as it translates from French. Because in the hardest of times, a friend is what we all need—and if it’s a friend in music, like these three artists—well, that’s even better.

 

Drew Cash