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Hot Club of Detroit

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Album Review

The very name of the Hot Club of Detroit is a tip-off to what kind of traditional jazz this Detroit-based sextet plays. Where other jazz combos may devote themselves to Dixieland or bebop, this group hearkens back to the hot dance music and gypsy jazz made by Django Reinhardt; indeed, the group's name is a play on Reinhardt's legendary Hot Club of France Quintet, which also featured violinist Stéphane Grappelli in one of the classic pairings of 20th century music. There is no violinist in the Hot Club of Detroit, but under the direction of founder/lead guitarist Evan Perri, this group — which also features Colton Weatherston and Paul Brady on rhythm guitar, Shannon Wade on bass, Dave Bennett on clarinet, and Julien Labro on button accordion — remains faithful to the restless and sophisticated spirit of Reinhardt's music on their eponymous 2006 debut. The key to the group's success is that they value both the sound and spirit of Reinhardt and are able to capture some of each. When they are running through the gypsy guitarist's repertoire — and over half of the album's 13 songs is taken from his songbook — their love and respect for the material is clear, but this never descends into a dogged homage to an idol; it's as spirited, lively, and infectious as his music (and on the ballads, as lushly romantic), but there is a nimbleness to the performances — particularly Perri's guitar work and Bennett's clarinet — that keeps the music fun and fresh. If the band simply played Reinhardt this well, Hot Club of Detroit would be a very, very fine record, but what makes it an excellent one is how the sextet can bring this gypsy spirit to music as diverse as Wes Montgomery's sweet "Leila," Antonio Carlos Jobim's "How Insensitive," and an epic 11-minute version of the "Godfather Theme" that is surprising not only in its inclusion, but in its sly arrangement, which lets the band swing like madmen. Through these newer songs, the Hot Club of Detroit proves their mastery of Reinhardt's music, since they can not only play his songs so well; they know how to translate it to other styles. That adventurousness, combined with their considerable musicality, makes Hot Club of Detroit a first-rate debut album — and after listening to it, it's hard not to want to hear how they go forward on their next album.

Customer Reviews


Love it!!!

Really good gypsy jazz

Found out about Hot club of Detroit through Pandora. Really good stuff.

Beautiful and Talented!!!

Just bought two songs one of which I heard a part of on Pandora. I can't believe this kind of music is not on the jazz radios!!!!! (specifially 88.1 in LA)


Formed: 2003 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Led by guitarist Evan Perri, the Hot Club of Detroit are among the 21st century groups that have been updating the Gypsy swing style popularized by the seminal Belgian guitarist Django Reinhardt -- who was only 43 when he died of a brain hemorrhage on May 16, 1953 but continued to influence a long list of disciples more than half a century after his death. Some Gypsy jazz artists of the 21st century are purists who go out of their way to emulate Reinhardt's classic recordings of the '30s and '40s,...
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Hot Club of Detroit, Hot Club of Detroit
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