Hot Club Edmonton
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Hot Club Edmonton

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | SELF

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | SELF
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"Hot Club Edmonton"

Hot Club Edmonton

Their group is officially just over a year old, but guitarist Clinton Pelletier and violinist Daniel Gervais have really been cooking up the vibes embodied in Hot Club Edmonton for most of a decade.

Hot Club is a homage to the Gypsy jazz of the great Quintet of the Hot Club of France, founded by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli in the 1930s, with a little bit of their own western Canadian musical heritage thrown in. So what attracted a couple of guys in their mid-20s to play such old music? "Gypsy music is very lighthearted, passionate and fiery," Pelletier notes. "When I listen to those great musicians, I hear so much humour, love for life and love of music. Given the swing and the musical feel, I'm not surprised it's becoming more popular again. I'm not a Gypsy but the raw emotion behind the music hit home to me."

Between Pelletier, Gervais and their guests, the Hot Club Edmonton self-titled debut CD does a terrific job of capturing that spirit. Several of the 13 tracks feature singer Thea Neumann with cameos from Calvin Vollrath, Mike Lent, Jeremiah McDade and others. While much of their material comes from the Gypsy jazz and standard jazz traditions, there are originals from Gervais and Vollrath, even a clever adaptation of Robert Palmer's pop tune Johnny and Mary, and Neumann's vocal on La Vie en Rose is a highlight.

Saskatchewan-raised Pelletier started playing guitar at 11 and soon joined in the Pelletier family band, while St. Paul native Gervais has played violin since age five. They first met back in the late 1990s and got together to play when the guitarist was making a demo CD in 2003. A couple of trips to Europe since then solidified their dedication to and love for Gypsy jazz. The album was recorded last winter. It recently won a Western Canadian Music Award for Instrumental Album of the Year. - The Edmonton Journal - Roger Levesque - December 1, 2010


Discography

1. Belleville- D. Reinhardt
2. Blanche- Traditional
3. Hommage à Grappelli- D. Gervais
4. Misty- E. Garner
5. Fly in the Pudding- C. Vollrath
6. Dinah- H. Askt
7. The Fox- Traditional
8. Johnny and Mary- R. Palmer
9. Sweet Suzanne- M. O'Connor
10. I Got Rhythm- G. Gershwin & I. Gershwin
11. La vie en rose- E. Piaf & L. Gugliemi
12. Dark Eyes- Traditional
13. Sweet Georgia Brown- B. Bernie, M. Pinkard & K. Casey

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Bio

Hot Club Edmonton's debut album featuring violinist Daniel Gervais and guitarist Clinton Pelletier takes you on a journey to a smoky lounge in Paris, back in the swingin' 1930s. Haunting airs, swinging melodies, driving rhythms and the sultry vocals of Thea Neumann.

Upon inception in early 2010, Hot club Edmonton performed at the Regina Folk Festival, were aired in a Live performance across Canada on CBC Radio and were awarded "Instrumental Album of the Year" at the Western Canadian Music Awards. Collectively, their musical education and experience has had them performing with an adverse line up of globally accomplished musicians. Everything from performances at Disneyland, Detroit Jazz Festival, SXSW to sharing the stage with Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo and Herbie Hancock, to name a few.

Gypsy Jazz was shaped within the context of Paris in the 1930s by Django Reinhardt, Stéphane Grappelli and the Quintette du Hot Club de France. Together, these two masters popularized this style and made waves throughout the world. Gypsy Jazz is an utterly infectious genre of music that encompasses haunting airs, swinging melodies, driving rhythms and virtuosic improvisation. All of this is delivered with the Gypsy flair. When listening to this music, one can imagine a smoky and crowded bar in France. It is our goal with this project to capture the essence of the Quintette du Hot Club de France while paying tribute to two giants in the history of jazz. Cheers to Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli!

Clinton Pelletier and Daniel Gervais were first drawn to Gypsy Jazz in 2003. Clinton was recording his debut album at the time and wanted to cover this style. At that point, Clinton and Daniel decided to fully immerse themselves in Gypsy Jazz. A trip to Europe in the spring of 2006 allowed them to further experience this music from the very source. Inspired at the site of Stéphane Grappelli's columbarium in Paris, Daniel composed Hommage à Grappelli. In the summer of 2009, Clinton and Daniel returned to France for a tour with the French-Canadian dance troupe Zéphyr. On this trip, there were fortunate to meet a wonderful French Gypsy Jazz violinist, Matthias Guerry. This musical encounter led to an impromptu concert and a very authentic experience, which was an excellent background for the completion of the Hot Club Edmonton debut album.

Although Clinton and Daniel are not Gypsies themselves, there are certain parallels between their world and that of Django's and Stéphane's. First, they both have French heritage, second, like the Gypsy people their lives as professional musicians include a lot of travelling. Finally, having grown up listening to Country and Western Swing, they were exposed to and developed an appreciation for improvisation at an early age. Just as Gypsy Jazz was shaped within the context of Paris in the 1930s, the Hot Club Edmonton sound could be described as a product of Gypsy Jazz combined with Western Canadian musical influences.