Inspired by one of the greatest guitar players that ever lived, The Hot Club of San Francisco pairs silent films with guitars, fiddles and the gypsy jazz music of Django Reinhardt to create Cinema Vivant.
Featuring two films by the famed European stop-action filmmaker Ladislaw Starewicz, this 10x10 Arts Series performance celebrates music of the past with brilliant renditions of the film’s original scores. The Hot Club of San Francisco musicians talk their inspiration, favorite songs and what they hope audiences will take away from Cinema Vivant.
Q&A with THE ARTISTS
The Hot Club of San Francisco has delighted audiences for 30 years. Can you tell us some songs that are your favorite to perform?
We are very excited to play some of the tunes from our Beatle’s album, John Paul George & Django. You’ll know them when you hear them!
What inspired you to pair The Hot Club of San Francisco’s music with silent films?
It’s a way for us to get into theaters that might never hire a gypsy jazz band. We sneak in with the films, and then we get to win the audience over with our “gypsy jazz and more.”
What is it about Cinema Vivant that caught your artistic attention?
Silent films are fantastic. They need to be seen by more (and younger) audiences. By combining esoteric films with obscure French gypsy jazz, we bring a TON of fun, culture and inspiration to our audiences.
As gypsy jazz artists, what do you think is important about carrying on this style of music?
Our desire in starting the band 30 years ago was to turn people to Django Reinhardt, his music and the genre that, at that time, was in danger of disappearing. Once you hear it, you’ll know why.
Hot Club of San Francisco’s inspiration is gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt, what about his music helped shape your expressive sound?
Quite simply, he was the best guitarist ever. No one before him and no one since has been as great. It’s not subjective really, ask any guitar player. Andres Segovia, Les Paul, B.B.King, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and on and on, they’ve all said it.
What is the best advice you have been given?
Play from the heart.
Whom do you define as visionary?
Django Reinhardt he saw a future for the guitar that didn’t exist before he came along.
What do you hope audience members take away from tonight's performance?
Inspiration! The films are INSPIRED and INSPIRING! The music has something for everyone - daring, romance, mystery, charm, simplicity and most important, SWING.
What songs, artists or styles of music are you currently listening to?
We listen to EVERYTHING - other gypsy jazz bands (but still mostly Django).
“Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” Django Reinhardt and Dickie Wells
“Potato Head Blues” Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five
“Save the Bones for Henry Jones” Nat Cole and Johnny Mercer
“Boleros Valses y Mas” Frankie Reyes
“Attitude Manouche” Django Festival All Stars
“Woodwork” Darol Anger and Mike Marshall