The Hot Club also avoids antiquarianism by means of humor. Who else would have thought of taking the 1928 tune "Coquette" and turning it into a samba, or playing "Blues Up and Down," the anthem of tenor saxophone duels, on an accordion? Cafagna has a great mastery of the saxophone, but does not overwhelm the ensemble. Perry has an amazing grasp of the Reinhardt style, with a guitar technique that allows him to build upon his model and bring it into the new century. Julien Labro is an accordion master who can make the instrument swing better than anyone I have ever heard; he has a lovely sense of melody that fits right in with the style of the band. Most important, the Hot Club is moving in a new direction, creating a modern, rhythmically and harmonically sophisticated vision of its original model, and thus keeping it truly alive. They perform at the Kerrytown Concert House on Wednesday, September 23.
[Originally published in September, 2009.]