What words come to mind when imagining Stern Grove Festival? For Hot Club of San Francisco, the words “beautiful, outdoors, open, clean, and fresh” inspired their most recent song, crafted for the Stern Grove Festival stage as part of the “Interplay” commission series. Vocalist and guitarist Paul Mehling of this local gypsy jazz band shared with us the challenging process of translating these words into a sound that evokes the unique experience of being “In Concert with Nature” at Stern Grove.
“Using the copious amount of time we spend in rented vans while on tour together, we managed to brainstorm some ideas that were almost unanimously agreeable to all of us, which we then slowly molded into the song’s now ‘finished’ state,” says Mehling of their newest song, “Groovin at the Old Stern Grove”.
Hot Club understands, but embraces the challenges in working with the environment of a concert space, whether it is a jazz club, on the street, a full stage, or among towering eucalyptus trees. Not every band can adapt their sound to the claps of a crowded jazz hall and keep up with the rhythm of the wind blowing through 100-foot trees, but Hot Club looks forward to the environment of Stern Grove advancing their sound.
Mehling feels that the quintet is uniquely aware and involved with the environment of a venue. “Since our goal is to somehow reach and touch our audience, we need to be acutely in tune with our environment and how best to circumvent any blockages which might preclude us from connecting with listeners.” This could be something mechanical (like sound system issues), something personal (a broken heart), or something out of their control, like fans unfamiliar with their style of music.
Gypsy jazz, which promotes the swinging sounds made popular by guitarist Jean “Django” Reinhardt in 1930s Paris, carries a welcoming aura in each twang and pick of a guitar. Fans are drawn in by its lively rhythm, and Mehling and the crew take the next step in treating each audience member as a friend that they haven’t yet met. “While audiences may or may not be familiar with us, or our genre of music, we hope to establish an interplay and connection with them that they won’t find anywhere else, and which will stay with them.”
The five members of Hot Club take being San Franciscans—and the area’s influences and long list of contributions to the evolution of jazz—very seriously. These ties are evident while listening to their new song, where nods are given to local insider jokes like “vegan/pagan hipsters” and “high-tech chief execs” grooving together at everyone’s favorite urban getaway, Stern Grove.
Mehling says he and the rest of Hot Club feel a huge sense of indebtedness to the people in the Bay Area jazz scene that they’ve learned from, been inspired by, and have been a part of for more than 27 years. “We are extremely proud to not only be a part of this artistic tapestry, but we see our role in preserving and pushing it forward as an integral part of our purpose.”
Here’s to looking forward to years, decades, and centuries of more artists promoting their craft at Stern Grove Festival! If you’d like to hear Hot Club of San Francisco perform “Groovin at the Old Stern Grove” and more, come watch them at Stern Grove Festival this Sunday, June 28 when they open for one of America’s favorite lyricists, Randy Newman. The show kicks off at 2 p.m.
Mar 31, 2015
(see complete story on page 3 of our VIDEO page)
Dec 31, 2014
1 year ago · Shared publicly
They are brilliant! Do not miss a chance to see them perform in person. Paul Mehling is quite the affable and witty entertainer as well as being "The Godfather" of gypsy swing in the USA. Love these guys!
Dec 18, 2014
I love America and jazz including gypsy french style
thanks for all what you do and provide me a real pleasure and as a french i am pround french gypsy music is advertised and played by the Genius you areDjango must thak you because he is still alive troughout you all around the worldone billion thanks.
Nov 9, 2014
It’s almost time for the HOLIDAYS and we here at the HOT CLUB OF SAN FRANCISCO wish you all a safe & merry season.
Coming soon to a theater near you:
EVERY MONDAY : Le Jazz Hot (the Quartet of the HCSF) plays for dancing, drinking and dining at Le Colonial in San Francisco 7-10pm FREE www.LeColonialSF.com
Wednesday Jan 14 Le Jazz Hot plays at Fattoria E Mare, a fantastic Italian Seafood restaurant in Burlingame, CA near SFO airport 7-10pm NO COVER! http://www.fattoriaemare.com/#!restaurant/crrl
Wed Jan 28 Le Jazz Hot plays at Fattoria E Mare, a fantastic Italian Seafood restaurant in Burlingame, CA near SFO airport 7-10pm NO COVER! http://www.fattoriaemare.com/#!restaurant/crrl
Wed Feb 4 Le Jazz Hot plays at Fattoria E Mare, a fantastic Italian Seafood restaurant in Burlingame, CA near SFO airport 7-10pm NO COVER! http://www.fattoriaemare.com/#!restaurant/crrl
February 14- Le Jazz Hot QUARTET @ Rancho NicasioHappy Valentine’s Day! http://www.ranchonicasio.com/music.htm
Wed Feb 18 Le Jazz Hot plays at Fattoria E Mare, a fantastic Italian Seafood restaurant in Burlingame, CA near SFO airport 7-10pm NO COVER! http://www.fattoriaemare.com/#!restaurant/crrl
March 6,7 & 8 Le Jazz Hot @ the Monterey Dixieland Jazz Festival Various days, various schedules http://www.jazzbashbythebay.com/
Never predictable, rotating personnel, instrument-hopping and shape-shifting. See for yourself at Le Colonial in SF, 7-10pm NO COVER
dancing -dining- doing
Nov 3, 2013
Hello Hot Heads! It’s WINTER and that means the Hot Club of SF is off on tour, hopefully in a theater near YOU!
EVERY MONDAY : Le Jazz Hot Quartet continues to delight & Dazzle diners and dancers. 7-10pm no cover. Gavin Newsome says “It’s the most fun you can have on a monday night with your clothes on!" www.LeColonialSF.com to get started, how about a FANTASTIC review of our show in Atlanta, GA on October 18, 2013
Thank you for supporting live music! www.HCSF.com & www.LeJazzHot.biz
Nov 1, 2013
Clint Bakers New Orleans all-stars rocked the house from 9-12 and then Le Jazz Hot quartet killed it from midnight till 3am! (yes, 3 am! and they were still rocking).