Hot Club performs Friday night, Dec. 6, in a full-scale concert and on Saturday afternoon, Dec. 7, in an abbreviated format for ages 5 to 18 from throughout Fairfield County.
As many jazz aficionados might guess, the group's name is a tribute to jazz legends Django Reinhardt (guitar) and StÃ©phane Grappelli, (violin), who founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France in 1934 during the world's Great Depression. Known as the QdHCdF, the group, which stayed active until about 1948, became famous for its original vivacious and exuberant sound during tough economic times and the horrors of World War II.
That style, known as "gypsy jazz," became Hot Clubs of Detroit's signature sound in 2003 when the band was formed, explained guitarist/founder Evan Perri, who indeed lives in the Motor City. That sound can be heard on the group's debut album in 2006.
But for an up-to-date snapshot of the group, its new release "Junction" is a more accurate reflection, said Perri in a recent telephone chat. The quintette also features French native Julien Labro on button accordion; Paul Brady, guitar; Shawn Conley, bass; and Jon Irabagon, saxophone. No percussion, no violin.
Original pieces are its specialty now.
"They're all such gifted composers ... we enjoy doing the new pieces. Ours is a `band' sound" that does not focus on one or two players. "That's pretty unique for a jazz group."
Friday night's concert is part of the Pequot Library's annual music series. Saturday's event is a highlight of the free Young Persons' Concert Series sponsored by the nonprofit Music for Youth. Cynthia Cummiskey, executive director, has said the program touches thousand of young people from throughout the county as it "brings the world's best (professional) musicians -- string players, pianists, singers, percussionists, wind and brass ensembles and traditional music experts -- to dazzle youngsters with their virtuosity and musical sensitivity."
"These artists are winners of international competitions and members of award-winning ensembles. They perform programs specifically devised to engage young audiences and introduce them to the classical literature in the most positive way possible. Most performers also offer free master classes for budding young performers after the concerts, further inspiring the next generation." Cummiskey has said.
"We haven't had a jazz group in some time," Cummiskey said, pointing out that most concerts are of a classical nature.
Saturday's 50-minute MFY concert will be followed by a free master class for advanced students on electric guitar, bass, accordion or saxophone. Reservations for master classes are required; call 203-938-3843 or email email@example.com. More information also is available at musicforyouth.net.
Perri said that he enjoys teaching and looks forward to the master classes.
"These days, any little inspiration you can offer ... to create something out of nothing, benefits us all in the long run in order to keep jazz alive," Perri said.
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Pequot Library, 720 Pequot Ave., in the Southport section of Fairfield. 203-259-0346; Friday. 7:30 p.m.; $25. http://www.pequotlibrary.org/index.php/calendar-events/annual-events-series/concert-series. Saturday, 2 p.m., free for children; adults, unaccompanied by a child, are asked to make a goodwill offering. The youth concert, which runs less than an hour, is followed by a master class for advanced musicians; class registration needed at www.musicforyouth.net.