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July/August 2004

Howard Alden/Johnny Frigo/Michael Moore/Bucky Pizzarelli
Hot Club of 52nd Street
Chesky Records

Chesky continues their run of theme recordings with Hot Club of 52nd Street, a follow-up to their 4 Generations of Miles Project and a live recording constructed around-if you haven't figured it out already-the music of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli's Hot Club. Violinist Johnny Frigo plays the role of Stephane here, while seven-stringer Bucky Pizzarelli and six-stringer Howard Alden share the role of the temperamental gypsy. Bassist Michael Moore stars as himself.

Though it's sometimes hard to hear the music over the wild applause, there are some fun, collegial contributions from Alden and Pizzarelli, who don't even try to imitate Reinhardt. In particular, Pizzarelli hardly feels the need to set aside those meaty chords he's been shaking out of his extra-wide for years. Of all the players, though, Frigo seems to enjoy himself the most on this convivial if slightly undercooked date.

Originally published in July/August 2004
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