by Angela Sanders
It’s that time of year again. The Hot Club of Philadelphia will perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 17, to open the 67th annual Pastorius Park Free Summer Concert Series at Millman Street and Hartwell Lane.
The Hot Club of Philadelphia, an acoustic jazz quartet, was begun in 2001 by guitarist Barry Wahrhaftig and violinist Mark Campiglia. The quartet includes Jim Stager, on acoustic bass, and rhythm guitar by Joe Ellis and/or Rich Yescalis.
The group is dedicated to preserving “gypsy jazz,” the music of Django Reinhardt, the noted French guitarist.
According to hotclubphilly.com, Reinhardt, born in a Belgian Gypsy caravan in 1910, was illiterate for most of his life and a self-taught musician.
Part of his legend begins in 1928 when he was badly burned in a fire, leaving his left hand with only the first and second fingers to hold down the strings.
Reinhardt essentially created a new method for playing the guitar, scoring him a seat as one of the most influential guitarists of the 20th century. Contemporary guitarists, who typically use all five fingers, still struggle to recreate Reinhardt’s solos.
Reinhardt captured the attention of writers, filmmakers and musicians alike, including Woody Allen and, of course, The Hot Club of Philadelphia, whose name comes from Reinhardt’s original group, The Quartet of The Hot Club of Paris.
The free concerts at Pastorius Park will feature bands like The Hot Club of Philadelphia among a blend of genres and cultural backgrounds for seven weeks of easy listening music. The concerts take place every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. from June 17 to July 29.
If a show is rained out, it will be held at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy’s Cherokee Campus. If rain is in the forecast, please go to www.chestnuthill.org to learn if the concert has been relocated.
The Pastorius Park Free Summer Concert Series is presented by the Chestnut Hill Community Association and is supported by the Chestnut Hill Community Fund, Chestnut Hill Hospital, WXPN, and TD Bank.
If your band is interested in performing in Pastorius Park in the summer of 2016 email Julie Bryne, chair of the Pastorius Park Concert Series, at firstname.lastname@example.org.