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Hot Club of San Francisco at Club Mac

Monday, April 11, 2016 Jennie Velasco

The Mac has been featuring some incredible talent for several months now with entertainment like the Moscow Ballet and Los Lobos (to name a few).  Just in time to get you into festival mode, I kicked off my spring fever (despite the crazy weather) tuning my ear to the soothing groove of gypsy jazz, with Hot Club of San Francisco. 

This was my first time experiencing The Mac’s Playhouse Theatre and Club Mac.  And it was an appropriate setting to create the intimacy of the old smoky jazz clubs of Paris.  This talented quintet brought style and panache to the likes of Django Reinhardt, St├ęphane Grappelli and included some original works.  What I witnessed was a group of mixed generations delivering timeless music with the help of Paul Mehling (founder, and on the Modele Selmer Guitar), twice Grammy winner Evan Price (violin), Isabelle Fontaine (vocals and rhythm guitar), Sam Rocha (Chadwick Folding Bass), and Jordan Samuels (rhythm guitar). 

A little background on gypsy jazz: It is also referred to as gypsy swing or hot club jazz.  A lot of what we know about gypsy jazz is that Django Reinhardt was really the pioneer of this genre.  He was credited for originally combining darker, chromatic flavors of gypsy heritage into Mussette style waltzes which was what was most popular in Paris in the late 30’s.  This became a growing phenomenon throughout Europe during war time and has distinct differences and standards to that of mainstream jazz. 

Today, Hot Club has accomplished 11 albums and a repertoire of entertaining international audiences from Iceland, Lincoln Center, to the noted Monterey Jazz Festival held every year in the early fall in California.  Overall the performance recreated scenes and imagery with the sound of music, both with vocals and without and closed with a mashup that included “Hey Jude.”  I was crooned, delighted, and essentially cast under a spell of non-stop daydreaming. 

For more on season highlights at The Mac @ College of DuPage vist AtTheMac.org

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