09:34 PM, Jan 20, 2009
REVIEW: Hot Club Eugene @ Luna Café (Eugene, OR - - 10/12/07)
Hot Club Eugene (myspace link), named and styled after Quintette du Hot Club de France (fronted by Stéphane Grappelli & Django Reinhardt), played last night at the Luna Café in lovely downtown Eugene.
I showed up right on time (8:30pm), but little did I know that that was actually late… the room was packed. That’s a great thing for great music, though. Keep the house full, they get to keeping playing out. Anyway, HCE’s violinist (Brian Price) was chatting to some folks and when he went up to play, I saw that they had an extra seat (and they were kind enough to let me use it). Score!
They started their set, and I’m blaming the packed room on my lack of getting any Willamette Pinot Noir. It was all sold out. ::grumble:: Regardless of my failing to score some last night, I do love living in an area with such great music and such great local wines and beers. It’s a yummy town.
Anyway, back to the music… I only had time (and ocular fortitude) to stay for their first hour set. They played a solid mix of self-penned tunes and standards. One thing that struck me after the first few songs was that… hey, this jazz group is all strings - - violin, lead guitar, two rhythm guitars, and a contrabass. Usually you tend to see some reeds, brass, keys, or skins thrown in the jazz mix. My personal jazz preferences goes somewhat towards the brass of a Miles Davis/Dave Douglas/Steven Bernstein or reedwork of an Ornette Coleman/John Zorn/Chris Potter, but this Hot Club Eugene all-string quintet had a great sound. The two rhythm guitars (Jim Lichens & Ben Doidge) and contrabass (Hamilton Mays) had a really full, percussive-at-times rhythm section.
The two lead men, Brian Price on violin and Spencer Doidge on lead guitar, really piqued my interest in the music. It makes me want to go out and check out some of Stéphane & Django’s groundwork… and, n’doy, come back and check out Hot Club Eugene very soon!!
Packed room as it was, there was still a lively/dancy crowd. At the get-go, there were only two people dancing. After only mild prompting, a small gang of folks bounced around up front. Great show overall, and I look forward to seeing them again soon… the wife and I will just know to show up earlier to get a good table… and the Pinot Noir. ::prospective yum::
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Rod tanaka / www.tanakaphoto.com
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Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP
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