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Album Review

The Hot Club of San Francisco is more than a tribute band re-creating the recordings of Django Reinhardt, Stéphane Grappelli and the Quintette du Hot Club de France; the group covers pieces from many different eras never performed by the group which inspired them. On their tenth CD, Yerba Buena Bounce, the Hot Club of San Francisco, which has identical instrumentation to the French group (lead guitar, violin, two rhythm guitars and a bass), leader Paul Mehling, violinist Evan Price and the rhythm section swing like mad in their updated treatment of the QHCF's speeding locomotive represented by "Mystery Pacific" and the brisk, chugging "Black and White." But they also successfully convert modern pop songs into gypsy swing material, such as the Beatles' ballad "I'm Happy Just to Dance with You" (adding Seth Asarnow on bandoneon) and Norman Gimbel's "Sway" (which adds mandolin master David Grisman). Mehling proves himself as a composer as well, contributing the upbeat "Number Two" and the tender "Lullaby" (the latter adding both Asarnow and Grisman). If that's not enough, Mehling adds campy vocals to "Gong Oh" and "Some of These Days." Fans of Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli owe it to themselves to investigate these swinging, beautifully recorded sessions by the Hot Club of San Francisco; gypsy swing is very much alive in their hands!

Yerba Buena Bounce, The Hot Club of San Francisco
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