Django Reinhardt was a gypsy guitarist in Paris in the 1930s and ‘40s, whose Quintette du Hot Club de France, with violinist Stephane Grappelli, profoundly influenced jazz musicians around the world.
Le Quintette du Hot Club de Hilo features John Nussbaum, playing Django’s melodies on the same kind of guitar that Django favored. Jerry Broughton plays violin in Grappelli’s jazzy style. Richard Schutte – influenced by Grappelli’s protégé David Grisman – plays jazz leads on the mandolin. Jerry Dicey keeps the rhythm going on bass. And Hal Glatzer backs them all up in the hard-pumping guitar style of the Quintette’s rhythm man (Django’s brother) Joseph Reinhardt.
We do not duplicate the original Quintette’s recordings; they have never gone out of print, and we feel that they are definitive; we encourage our audiences to seek them out. But Le Hot Club de Hilo’s repertoire features Django’s signature instrumentals “Swing 42” and “Minor Swing;” his versions of American hits, including “Sweet Georgia Brown” and “Dinah;” and his most famous composition: the haunting French ballads “Nuages” and “J’Attendrai.”
We play the tunes that they played, and in much the same arrangements, but with an important difference. Their audiences were quite familiar with the Quintette’s source-material: the popular songs and jazz hits of the day. Our audiences are less likely to know those tunes; so we sing them, too. And as both the original Quintette and ours are essentially dance-bands, we also particularly welcome dancers at our gigs.