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Hot Club Cool Yule - featuring the Hot Club of San Francisco

4.8 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 27, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

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Review

Grant Osborne, Peter Innocenti and Jeff Crouse, "Little Town - Carols for Christmas" (Little Town) - Tasteful piano-bass-drums ensemble work in playful and wistful moods a la Vince Guaraldi (he of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" fame) by Triangle players and, on two cuts, singer Jeanne Jolly.

"Trio West Plays Holiday Songs, Vol. 2" (Yummyhouse) - More piano-bass-drums cooking, with rhythmic revisions such as "O Tannenbaum Funk" and "Silent Night Samba."

Alexis Cole, "The Greatest Gift" (Motema) - Now vocalist with the U.S. Military Academy Jazz Knights Big Band, Cole recorded this album with various well-known jazz instrumentalists and singers from her civilian days. A knock-out.

The Airmen of Note, "Cool Yule" (U.S. Air Force Band) - The spirit of Glenn Miller's Army Air Corps dance band weaves through these hip (and occasionally wickedly humorous) performances in concert with modern arranging currents. Grant Langford - hometown: Chapel Hill - plays tenor saxophone in the group.

"Jazzy Brass for the Holidays" (DBCD) - A sextet (brass quartet, bass and drums) led by trumpeter Eddie Allen sounds both traditional and deeply rooted in jazz integrity here.

Hot Club of San Francisco, "Hot Club Cool Yule" (Azica) - A quintet of violin, string bass (doubling on trumpet) and three guitars conjures up the 1930s and the Christmas album Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France never made. -- Newsobserver.com, Owen Cordle, December 6, 2009

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 27, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Azica
  • ASIN: B002N5KEJC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,609 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Another Christmas recording? As certain as the rising of the Christmas tree is the annual release of a plethora of Christmas recordings from a variety of artists and genres. Classical guitar for Christmas? No problem. An accordion fan? Relax to Rudolph on the squeezebox. "Fill in the name" pop star doing the standards? Several available for your choosing. So here comes the Hot Club of San Francisco to add some gypsy jazz from the smoke filled bars of ...uh...San Francisco to the mix?

But relax. Here is a Christmas recording offering something a bit different and worth listening to in the midst of the season. The Hot Club of San Francisco may not be a mainstream ensemble, but they are generally considered one of the best gypsy jazz groups in the U.S. For those not familiar with the genre, gypsy jazz is an acoustic guitar dominated format created by the incredible guitarist Django Reinhardt with violinist Stephane Grappelli in the smoky bars of Paris in the 1930s. The name of their group was the Quintette du Hot Club de France, and gypsy jazz groups often attach the "Hot Club" title to their own city. The quintet arrangement holds with the Hot Club of San Francisco which is led by guitarist Paul Mehling and violinist Evan Price, along with bassist Clint Baker, and rhythm guitarists Jeff Magidson and Jason Vanderford.

Mehling's gift as a leader has been to honor tradition while not being afraid of stretching the genre. In this recording he clearly moves beyond the normal library and also employs several guest singers and other ensembles to offer some new sounds. The result is a wide ranging, but solid, recording of a variety of Christmas classics.
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Format: Audio CD
Gypsy swing holiday albums are about as rare as Christmas stockings hanging on the Wailing Wall. But here's an enjoyable one from a string band that claims it's duty-bound to do the X-mas album their heroes Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli never made. Presumption aside, the quintet draws listeners in with loads of foot-tapping charm and swing. Good to hear some unexpected material like show tune "March of the Toys" and the Appalachian hymn "I Wonder as I Wander" next to intelligent, fresh arrangements of "The Christmas Song" and "Auld Lang Syne."
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Format: Audio CD
Hot Club Cool Yule
Hot Club of San Francisco | Azica Records (2009)

By Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Dr. Judith Schlesinger
View Profile | Contact Me
Columnist
Joined AAJ in 2002

The liner notes imply that this is the Christmas album Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli might have made, had they made one. Certainly the The Hot Club of San Francisco is a virtuosic group that specializes in conjuring that era (see their masterful Bohemian Maestro for a recent example). But there's a wealth of delicious humor here that goes beyond anything that legendary pair ever produced.

For instance, check out the inspired derangement of "Djingle Bells," and "Don Rudolfo" (as in Red-Nosed Reindeer), a sultry tango that ultimately flows into the "Habanera" from "Carmen" (honest). There's also a red-hot "Sugar Rum Cherry" that swings the Nutcracker into a whole new orbit. Yet just when you get used to a jovial ride, the Hot Club throws out a gorgeous string arrangement of "I Wonder As I Wander," getting serious about the season. And there are still more surprises to come, although it would be like giving away a movie plot to describe them all.

One thing is sure: however you deck your halls with music - whether you dig out that dusty stack of CDs, or cue your Yuletide playlist - this collection is so different from anything else that it's likely to make your guests pause, nogs in midair, to ask what it is. And you don't even have to answer: just show them the CD cover, where Santa drives a gypsy caravan instead of a sleigh. Brilliant and delightful!

Hot Club of San Francisco at All About Jazz.
Visit Hot Club of San Francisco on the web.
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Format: Audio CD
Hot Club Jazz is just the ticket for holiday music on Hot Club Cool Yule. The Hot Club of San Francisco renders acoustically impotent the bombastic electric offerings of Mannheim Steamroller and Trans-Siberian Orchestra with the flick of a guitar pick and violin bow. Gratefully, authentic musicianship trumps even the best technique. Instead of one more anemic "White Christmas," the HCSF opt for a hot take on Duke Ellington's interpretation of "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies" ("Sugar Rum Cherry") and Victor Herbert's "March of the Toys."

A medley of "Carol of the Bells" and Vince Guaraldi's "Skating" make a breezy way early on. A warm "Baby, Its cold Outside" features Duo Gadjo (Isabelle Fontaine and Jeff Magidson) and Evan Price on octave violin. The spiritual "I Wonder as I Wander" receives a very European string trio treatment very successfully by guest violinist Deborah Price, violist Marcel Gemperli and cellist Eric Gaensten.

Guitarist Paul Mehling shines in his solos on "I'll be Home for Christmas," "The Christmas Song," and "Auld Lang Syne. Evan Price's violin is given even exposure, the two men playing as if made for one another. This recording benefits from expert musicianship by musicians obviously having much fun, which simply adds to the joyfulness of a wonderfully lively disc.
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Hot Club Cool Yule - featuring the Hot Club of San Francisco
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