Wednesday, March 14 / 7:30 p.m.

Berks Jazz Fest Night: Alvernia Performing Arts Series
Francis Hall Theater & Recital Hall / Alvernia University

The Hot Club of Philadelphia was started in 2001 by guitarist Barry Wahrhaftig. The band is an acoustic ensemble, dedicated to playing Gypsy Jazz. That’s the term used to describe the music pioneered by the legendary original Hot Club of France Quintet, which was led by guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli.

Django and Grappelli were attempting to do their own version of American Hot Jazz, as played by stars like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. They used acoustic guitars, bass and violin, rather than horns and drums. Grappelli and Django added some French and Gypsy flavor and created a blend of music that is quite popular and accessible. The HCPhilly mixes the original style of the HCOF, along with its own modern influences.

The band performs as a trio, quartet, quintet, etc. There have been some changes in the lineup through the years. Bassist Jim Stager has been with the group from the beginning. Joshua Machiz, Alexandre Hiele and Dylan Taylor all perform with the band frequently. Dan Pearce is the second guitarist, and violinist Joseph Arnold is a key part of the group’s recordings and shows, and clarinetists Bob Butryn and Paul Butler also are mainstays.

The band features vocalists Phyllis Chapell and Cecilia Ferneborg, and also has collaborated with Denise King.¬†Wahrhaftig also sings, and he’ll add a Sinatra or Nat King Cole standard, in addition to songs of the 1920s, 30s and 40s.