The red hot Gypsy jazz ensemble, The Hot Club of Detroit, will be in “full swing” at West Shore Community College’s Center Stage Theater on Sat., March 22, at 7:30 p.m.
Hot Club of Detroit is a one-of-a-kind jazz ensemble specializing in the Gypsy jazz sound made famous by guitarist Django Reinhardt. Hot Club of Detroit was formed in 2001 by Reinhardt disciple and virtuoso guitarist Evan Perri, while he was attending Wayne State University.
“This group is by far, one of the most virtuosic group of musicians I have had the pleasure of knowing. I have seen them grow in popularity in the past 15 years and I guarantee that everyone who attends this show will leave amazed by what can be accomplished on a musical instrument,” says Ted Malt, Associate Professor of Music Studies at the college.
The group quickly became a favorite in Detroit area bars and clubs and signed with Mack Avenue Records, releasing the self-titled “Hot Club of Detroit” in 2006, and following that album with with “Night Town” in 2008. Their next album, “It's About That Time,” which expanded somewhat on the band's Gypsy jazz base to include other strains of jazz, appeared in 2010.
In 2012, the Hot Club of Detroit returned with album “Junction” displaying an electrifying and visionary ensemble that takes the traditions pioneered by Reinhardt and spins them in a way that is both reverent and refreshingly contemporary.
Their energetic and unique acoustic-electric sound features Evan Perri on lead guitar, Julien Labro on accordion, Ivan Peña on rhythm guitar and Jordan Schug on bass.
Although he claims to have no Gypsy blood in him, Hot Club founder and lead guitarist Evan Perri spent nearly six years roaming the campuses of five different colleges in search of the right music program. He studied jazz at Berkeley College of Music, Musictech College in Minneapolis, and Western Michigan before settling in at Wayne State University in Detroit.
He is the son of a jazz guitarist, but Evan did not pick up a guitar until age 16 and never heard a Django Reinhardt recording until his 20’s. However, while still a fan of greats like Joe Pass, Pat Martino, Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell, he vividly remembers hearing Django for the first time and thinking, "This is it. This is what I've been looking for."
The HCOD was born out of his desire to recreate the sound he describes as "Parisian Café 1936, but with better sound equipment" in Detroit. A dedicated student of Reinhardt and the gypsy guitar tradition, Evan is currently playing the "Model Jazz" guitar made by Manouche Guitars.
Deemed "brilliant" by Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune, Julien Labro, the group’s accordionist and bandoneon player, has established himself as one of the foremost players of these instruments in both the classical and jazz worlds. His artistry, virtuosity, and creativity as a musician, composer and arranger have earned him international acclaim and continue to astonish audiences worldwide.
French-born Labro was inﬂuenced early on by traditional folk music and the melodic, lyrical quality of the French chanson. However, he spent every last cent of his pocket money collecting CDs by jazz legends like Charlie Parker and Miles Davis, thirsty for the originality, creativity, and the endless possibilities in their musical language.
After graduating from the Marseille Conservatory of Music, Labro began winning international awards, taking ﬁrst prize in the Coupe Mondiale in 1996, and the Castelﬁdardo Competitions in 1997. After sweeping ﬁrst place in the Marcel Azzola, Jo Privat and Medard Ferrero competitions in 1995 and 1998, Labro moved to the United States to further pursue his studies and musical dream. There he embraced other genres of music, ranging from pop and hip-hop to electronic/techno and rap, as well as Latin, Indian, Middle Eastern, and other types of world music.
Equipped with advanced degrees in classical music, jazz studies, and composition, Labro draws from both his diverse academic background and eclectic musical taste in his professional life as a performer, arranger, and composer.
Labro tours with jazz groups such as the Frank Vignola Ensemble, Jazz Wagon, The Oblivion Project, and Hot Club of Detroit. His performance schedule includes well-known jazz venues and festivals throughout the world.
Jordan Schug is one of the most in-demand bass players in the Ann Arbor and Detroit area.
After attending Adrian High School, he earned a bachelor’s of Music in Jazz Studies degree at the prestigious University of North Texas in 2005.
Since his return to Michigan, he has performed with Hot Club of Detroit, the Scott Gwinnel Orchestra, Paul Keller Orchestra, Rampage Swing, and many others.
In addition to their performance, the group will host a student clinic at Shelby High School Auditorium at 1 p.m. on Fri., March 21.
Dr. Rick Plummer, director of the WSCC arts series says that tickets for this event are on sale now, but adds that patrons should not wait to make their reservations.
Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the WSCC Box Office at 231-843-5507.
Author: Thomas Hawley | Executive Director of College Communications & Community Engagement