Celebrating the gypsy jazz legacy

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Violinist Keven Aland's Hot Club of SRQ brought its fascinating update of the gypsy jazz tradition to the Venice Art Center on Thursday, April 12, in a concert co-produced by the South County Jazz Club.

The program built on the Hot Club of France tradition, drawing much material from gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and his disciples. Reinhardt co-led the Hot Club of France Quintet with French violinist Stephane Grappelli, starting in 1934.

For this performance, the Hot Club of SRQ was also a quintet, with Aland, guitarists Nikola Baltic and Jon McLaughlin, bassist Glenn Stephenson and clarinetist Jim Snyder. On every tune, Baltic and McLaughlin shifted with ease between melodic solos and rhythm guitar duties.

The Reinhardt material included “Swing de Paris," “Douce Ambiance," “Djangology" and “Minor Swing." The band also performed a gypsy bossa versions of Reinhardt disciple Stochelo Rosenberg's “For Sefora" and Ninine Garcia's gypsy jazz standard “Paquito."

Other material given a gypsy jazz flavor this night included “The Anniversary Song," Jimmy McHugh's “I Can't Give You Anything But Love" (Aland's first vocal feature), the French tune “J'Attendrai," violinist Stuff Smith's “I's a Muggin" and the Yiddish tune “Bei Mir Bist Do Schoen."

“Honeysuckle Rose" showcased the band's tight yet exuberant sound. “Indifference Waltz" included beautiful segments in which Snyder and Aland seamlessly doubled on the melody on clarinet and violin.

On “Douce Ambiance," Aland's extended solo included snippets of “Eleanor Rigby" and “Tainted Love."

In these fine hands, anything seems fair game.

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This story appears courtesy of Ken Franckling's Jazz Notes.
Copyright © 2021. All rights reserved.

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