Hot Strings


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Hot Strings is a Swiss ensemble dedicated to the tough, musically sophisticated string jazz music created by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli with the Hot Club du France in the 1930s. While interest in this music has resurfaced with the demented Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire, to a lesser extent the Squirrel Nut Zippers, and to a more exacting extreme Summers, Delany and Sharp, the sound of hot swing has been largely absent from Europe. Apparently not in Switzerland. Lorraine is a solid, beautifully recorded example of what happens when four musically talented cats get together who have thoroughly studied the music of their heroes. There is no modern innovation in this music in the sense that Hot Strings is playing anything new. However, the fact that they are playing their own material and not the classics makes these records both convincing and delightful. Of 15 tracks, all of them but one were composed by guitarist Fere Schiedegger or violinist Martin Abbühl. The other members of the quartet include Jacques Vaney on guitar and bassist Thomas Dürst. Standouts include the smoking opener, "Hot Violins," and "Jasmine et Jonas" with its lilting violin line and droning bass part. The guitar solo by Scheidegger is a subtle work of art, moving from scale to scale and skipping from arpeggios to chord shapes with effortless dexterity. Also quite stunning is "Nathalie" near the end of the album and "Melancholy Bolero," which is almost operatic in its scope but retains its jazz demeanor.

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