The Hot Club Brings Gypsy Jazz to the Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Hot Club of Philadelphia
The Hot Club of Philadelphia

Throughout the 1920s, 30s and 40s, guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli crafted an innovative brand of hot Parisian-based Gypsy jazz full of passionate solos and rich with a heavy, rhythmic sway. With dancing guitars and gliding violins, they transformed tunes from the great American songbook into something sensual. Decades later, The Hot Club of Philadelphia carries on in the tradition of Reinhardt and Grappelli. On Friday April 12, they’ll play the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s prestigious “Art After 5” event.

Hot Club guitarist Barry Wahrhaftig has been a long-time devotee of Django’s sound. “I got bit by the Django bug when I was studying with Stephane Wrembel back in the day,” says Wahrhaftig. Wrembel is a well-known and highly regarded practitioner of Parisian Gypsy jazz, so much so that director Woody Allen chose Wrembrel’s songs for the soundtrack to his film Midnight in Paris. Wahrhaftig says that tonight’s “Art After 5” event was originally booked for Wrembrel to play, but that a tour conflict kept him on the road. “We're thrilled to be asked to fill in for my former teacher. We love the venue. It’s perfect for our sweet and lowdown acoustic sound.”

For this show, The Hot Club of Philadelphia will also feature several Edith Piaf classics sung by Phyllis Chapell, a local vocalist who is currently working in the studio with the ensemble on its second CD release.

The Hot Club of Philadelphia and Phyllis Chapell will play at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 215.763.8100, 5 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. on Friday, April 12.

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Photo courtesy Barry Wahrhaftig

Posted on Friday, April 2013