The Hot Club of San Francisco

The Hot Club of San Francisco is readying a big show at Tempe Center for Arts next Saturday. 

The Hot Club of San Francisco – which has been delighting audiences for 30 years with its blend of violin, bass and guitars – is Lakeshore Music’s next presentation at Tempe Center for the Arts.

The group will perform at 7:30 p.m. March 21 at the center, 700 W. Rio Salado Pkwy., in Tempe, presenting a show titled. “John, Paul, George and Django.” 

“There will be a healthy dose of the Fab Four with Hot Club’s unique twist,” said Woody Wilson, founder, president and executive producer of Lakeshore Music. “It will be like Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks colliding head-on with The Beatles.”

To hear the Hot Club of San Francisco ensemble live, or on any of their 14 albums, is to be carried back to the 1930s and the small, smoky jazz clubs of Paris or the refined lounge of the Hotel Ritz. 

The Hot Club, which tours nationally and internationally, has gained a reputation for innovative arrangements of classic tunes and original compositions.

The musicians – Paul Mehling, Isabelle Fontaine, Evan Price and Sam Rocha – celebrate the music of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. Their contemporary jazz and swing often are called gypsy jazz.

Reinhardt is hailed among the greatest guitar players ever. Often overlooked, however, are his roots in gypsy culture and Paris of the 1920s.

Reinhardt combined this influence with American jazz to create music critics call both sentimental and flamboyant.

“My father was a record collector. I grew up with the music of Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller and all the swing-era bands,” Mehling explained. “I had an older sister who turned me on to rock ’n roll. 

“When I was 6, we saw The Beatles on Ed Sullivan and it was like getting hit by lightning. I said, ‘I wanna do that – make the girls scream and give people the buzz I get from hearing the music.’”

“Then I heard Django,” Mehling continued. “Three guitars, bass and violin, and they sounded and acted like a rock band.”

“When I was a teenager, I saw Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks and he was playing a contemporary blend of The Beatles and Django. I went to see them a lot and listened to their combination of rhythm guitar with jazz violin and tried to figure out how it worked.” 

Fontaine, born and raised in the French countryside, also was drawn to the gypsy swing of Reinhardt.

Featuring the violin of two-time Grammy winner Price, the vocals of Fontaine and a swinging rhythm section enrich the group’s album “John, Paul, George and Django,” the basis for this Lakeshore Music show.

After a long year-and-a-half without convenient parking at the arts center, free parking on-site is back.

Validation is required and handles at its reception table in the lobby.

A $60 Caffe Boa Dinner & Jazz Package is available by calling 480-350-2822. 

“The best dinner and show value in the universe is our partnership with the renowned Caffe Boa in downtown Tempe,” Wilson said.

“It’s $60 and it includes your concert ticket. Dinner at Caffe Boa followed by our Hot Club of San Francisco show at TCA is the perfect date night out. You’ll thank me later. Everyone does.”

Tickets: lakeshoremusic.org.