Jazz in Tucson is alive and well with a variety of jazz styles being performed around town. The Arizona Senior Academy has had the good fortune to feature an eclectic mix of jazz music in our concert series.
On Tuesday (May 29), it’s gypsy jazz that will come to the ASA stage, in a performance beginning at 11:30 a.m. by the Hot Club of Tucson. Nick Coventry (violin), Matt Mitchell (guitar) and Evan Dain (double bass) play the swinging styles of traditional gypsy jazz, French jazz, American Tin Pan Alley, and original tunes that will get your toes tapping and fingers snapping.
Also known as “hot jazz,” gypsy jazz originated in Paris in the 1930s and ‘40s with Roma guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli and their Quintette du Hot Club de France. Inspired by the powerful impact of Louis Armstrong as he brought American jazz to Europe, the Parisian musicians developed their own virtuosic style of swinging jazz. The Quintette included a bass and two rhythm guitar players, who provided a percussive backdrop as Reinhardt and Grappelli traded solos.
Hot Club of Tucson got its start at the 2004 Tucson Folk Festival and has changed personnel over the years. The current trio is a mainstay at the Hotel Congress where they play weekly on Sundays from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm. They have appeared at the annual Folk Festival a number of times over the years, and in 2016 inaugurated the Django Southwest Festival in conjunction with the annual Tucson Jazz Festival.
Be sure to ask the band about their recent appearance on May 25th at Hamilton Distillers with select members of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.
Written by Leslie Nitzberg, Academy Village Volunteer