Hot Club Of Detroit: Night Town

Proving it is neither one-off gimmick nor one-hit wonder, the Hot Club of Detroit has returned with its second excellent album of Gypsy jazz. On Night Town, the quintet-guitarist and bandleader Evan Perri, rhythm guitarist Paul Brady, accordionist Julien Labro, bassist Shannon Wade and saxophonist Carl Cafagna-serve up a delectable mix of 15 originals, standards and surprises with an authenticity and excitement that transport the listener to 1930s France.

What a rush it is to listen to this music. Whether the tune is a Django Reinhardt standby, one of Perri’s original, or a rearrangement of Jelly Roll Morton or Maurice Ravel, it belongs here, and that’s a credit not only to the musicianship of these young men but the great fun they have playing together. It helps that Perri is a virtuoso on the guitar; we can only marvel at his dexterity and sharp tone on tunes like “Coquette,” where he picks off a squall of notes while Labro holds a chord and shakes his accordion’s bellows for all they’re worth. Later, Labro and Cafagna, on tenor sax, trade twos and fours in a pitched battle during the Gene Ammons/Sonny Stitt number “Blues Up and Down,” and it raises hairs on the back of your neck. Whatever these guys do, it sounds natural. Even their Gypsy-jazz arrangement of Miles Davis’ “Seven Steps to Heaven” sounds as if that song had originally been written for a hot club.