The Hot Club of Detroit is one of many bands that have been inspired by the work of Django Reinhardt with the Quintet of the Hot Club of France, though leader and guitarist Evan Perri's group omits the violin, instead utilizing accordion and saxophone. Yet the band's second CD doesn't exclusively stick to Gypsy jazz and swing, also delving into early jazz, bop and post-bop, along with Perri's compositions.
The spirit of Django is very much alive in their playful arrangement of "I Want to Be Happy," with Carl Cafagna's potent tenor and Jullen Labro's playful accordion complementing Perri's intricate guitar work. The Hot Club takes the time to explore Reinhardt's less frequently played works, such as the elegant waltz "Valse a Rosenthal," the chugging "Melodie Au Crepuscule" and the humorous "Django's Monkey" (an arrangement based on "Django's Tiger," itself a set of improvisations on "Tiger Rag"). Cafagna switches to soprano sax for a relaxing treatment of Jelly Roll Morton's "Sweet Substitute," followed by a romp through the tenor battle warhorse "Blues Up and Down" that blends Gypsy jazz and bop, with Labro taking the role of the second tenor on accordion. Miles Davis' "Seven Steps to Heaven" leans more heavily into post-bop, though the Gypsy rhythm underneath provides plenty of power for Cafagna's burning tenor. The originals also merit attention. "Two Weeks," a lush Perri-Labro collaboration, blends samba and swing, while Perri's elegant "Night Town" has a Latin undercurrent suggesting a brisk stroll at dusk on a breezy evening.
Track Listing: I Want To Be Happy; J'Attendrai; Valse a Rosenthal; Seven Steps to Heaven; Speevy; Coquette;
Sweet Substitute; Blues Up and Down; Pour Parler; Melodie Au Crepuscule, Two Weeks;
Tzigane; Django's Monkey; Night Town; Swing 05.
Personnel: Evan Perri: acoustic guitar; Paul Brady: steel and nylon string rhythm guitar; Shannon Wade:
bass; Carl Cafagna: soprano sax, tenor sax; Julien Labro: accordion, accordina.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.