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Mind-openers

Hot Club Sandwich pays tribute to gypsy jazz
 Posted: 8:30 AM April 11, 2013

Django Reinhardt's beloved songbook was the starting point for the Seattle-based band, Hot Club Sandwich.

"We join a long line of American musicians inspired by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli and the gypsy jazz style that emerged from their work in Paris," says HCS mandolinist Matt Sircely.

"His (Reinhardt's) gypsy background informed his improvisation in a way the world had never seen."

If you go

Who: Hot Club Sandwich

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, April 13

Where: Caldera Tap House, 31 Water St., Ashland

Cover: $5

Call: 541-482-4677

HCS is partially responsible for the regional resurgence of gypsy jazz. When the band formed in 2000, the primary players in the scene were John Jorgenson, the Hot Club of San Francisco and Pearl Django, but for the past decade, HCS has done its part to spread the Reinhardt love up and down the West Coast.

"Now every town has a bluegrass band — sometimes two — and a gypsy jazz band, sometimes with the same players," Sircely says with a laugh.

HCS has played in Southern Oregon on several occasions and will play here again at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 13, at Caldera Tap House, 31 Water St., Ashland. The roster for this show will include fiddler Tim Wetmiller, guitarist Ray Wood, Sircely, drummer Joseph Mascorella and bassist Kevin Stevens. (Guitarist Kevin Conner and bassist James Schneider will not be present.)

Sets are typically split between original instrumentals and '30s and '40s jazz standards.

"Django took material from everywhere, so we like to follow that cue," Sircely says, adding that the band is influenced by Mexican folk music, Argentinian and Western swing, as well as by Slim & Slam, Oscar Aleman and other greats. "Part of gypsy jazz is having an open mind and a love for many different kinds of music."

Members take a light-hearted, playful approach to the music, and everybody sings, including the drummer, who also scats.

"A lot of times in gypsy jazz, there's one primary soloist with rhythm players," Sircely says. "But the way we do it, everybody solos, and the arrangements move very quickly so, for the audience, it can be like watching a tennis match as the solos fly across the stage."

"Part of this tradition is the need to improvise so when we're on stage we're just being ourselves."

Ashland's Flat Five String Band will open the show at Caldera. The cover charge is $5. Call 541-482-4677 or see www.hotclubsandwich.com for more information.


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