French-Gypsy swing band, star jazz guitarist bound for Bates

The Hot Club of San Francisco. Photograph by Lenny Gonzalez.

The Hot Club of San Francisco. Photograph by Lenny Gonzalez.

The Olin Arts Center Concert Hall is the setting for two don’t-miss jazz performances in May.

Masters of the sophisticated French-Gypsy swing pioneered by guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stéphane Grappelli, the Hot Club of San Francisco presents its Cinema Vivant film-and-music program in a joint presentation with L/A Arts at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 10.

Led by a guitarist who “combines an astonishing command of the fingerboard with a seemingly endless flow of melodic invention,” according to Soundstage, the Sheryl Bailey 3 performs in an Olin Arts Alive presentation at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 17.

Tickets for the HCSF show are $20 by reservation at the L/A Arts ticketing site. Tickets for Bailey are $12, available at Free tickets are available to the first 100 seniors and students who make a reservation at

The Olin Arts Center is located at 75 Russell St. For more information, please call 207-786-6163 or email

Hot Club of San Francisco

Jazz guitarist Sheryl Bailey.

Jazz guitarist Sheryl Bailey.

The Hot Club of San Francisco, a quintet of accomplished and versatile musicians, celebrates the music of Reinhardt and Grappelli’s pioneering Hot Club de France.

The HCSF borrows the instrumentation of violin, bass and guitars from the original Hot Club while breathing new life into the music with innovative arrangements of classics and originals by lead guitarist Paul Mehling. The band features the amazing violin of two-time Grammy Award winner Evan Price and a swinging rhythm section.

To hear the ensemble is to return to the 1930s, the intimate jazz clubs of Paris and the elegant lounges of the Hotel Ritz. Often called Gypsy jazz, the music of the Hot Club of San Francisco has entranced audiences around the globe for more than 20 years.

“We have a swing-or-die approach to the music that’s distinctly American,” says Mehling.

At Bates, the band presents Cinema Vivant, an evening of silent films accompanied by live Gypsy swing. Two films are by European filmmaker Ladislaw Starewicz, a pioneer of stop-action animation: The Cameraman’s Revenge, a charming piece about the marital troubles of beetles, and The Mascot, an adventure story about lost toys.

From the other side of the Atlantic comes There It Is, a recently rediscovered film by American Charley Bowers, who revolutionized film in the 1920s by combining animation with live action.

Sheryl Bailey 3

“The most essential quality in a jazz musician is one’s sense of groove — time,” Bailey told writer David Hodge. “Listening to a lot of jazz is also important to get the ‘sound of jazz’ in your ear, and also, your heart.

“If you treat jazz as a science experiment, it will always sound like that — falling in love with the music is the key to open the door.”

A composer and player ranked among the foremost bop-based guitarists to emerge in the 1990s, Bailey brings organist Ron Oswanski and drummer Ian Froman to Bates for a night of hard-swinging contemporary jazz. It’s a melodic collaboration that reviewer Elliot Simon describes as a “communal musical journey.”

Bailey has toured extensively in the U.S. and around the world as a member of David Krakauer’s Klezmer Madness and the Jazz Guitars Meet Hendrix quartet. Her 2011 CD For All Those Living (PureMusic Records) is the most recent of her eight CDs as bandleader, and her catalog also includes the concert DVD The Sheryl Bailey 3: Live in NYC (2008, Mel Bay Records).

Bailey was chosen as a Jazz Ambassador for the U.S. State Department in 2000 for a South American tour, and earned third place in the Thelonius Monk International Jazz Guitar competition in 1995. Hailing from Pittsburgh, Bailey studied at Berklee College of Music, where she now teaches.

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