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BIOGRAPHY

Hot Club Swing performs an exciting and highly infectious style of music that could be best described as French Gypsy Jazz. The music draws from an exotic palate of classical, jazz and Gypsy influences, painting on a canvas that can be eloquently French, starkly rustic or darkly and romantically Gypsy. The group is mainly inspired by the virtuosic Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, who originated this acoustic music in 1930’s Paris.

As a result of many showcase performances, Hot Club Swing has built a dedicated and diverse audience, which is always eager to return to an evening of this captivating music accompanied by the indulgences of a la carte dining and fine wine. The group has also been featured at many weddings, corporate and government functions, adding that sought after ambience.

The current quintet features: Ben Calderazzo (leader/guitar); Phil Smurthwaite (violin); Jeremy Bourke (rhythm guitar), Rob Gador (double bass); and Nadine Joy (vocals).

"Hot Club Swing capture a warm, swinging all-string sound taking audience hearts and imaginations captive....the band's intuitive and empathic interplay is a feature of their live set." The Age.



HISTORY

Originally formed in the summer of 1997 in the Australian regional town of Geelong, with guitarists Ben Calderazzo, Ben Cohen and violinist Phil Smurthwaite. As with the often humble beginnings of many bands, cafes and restaurants were the order of the day: the chance for the group to hone their skills and develop repertoire.

A meeting with double-bassist Rob Gador in mid-98 provided the opportunity to add the much-needed fourth member to round out their developing sound. An overseas trip taken by Cohen in early '99 left a gap which was filled by local jazz stalwart Steve James, opting to play rhythm guitar exclusively. The quartet now began to gig heavily in and around Geelong, including Port Fairy Music Festival, the 1st Queenscliff Music Festival and countless other events.

A chance meeting with chanteuse Tessa Lee in 2001 brought her French/English vocals to the band and eventually the studio. Musique du Jour was recorded Jun-Dec 2001 at Beechfront Media, engineered by Richard Beechey, and released Mar 2002. The band embarked on a mini-tour of Geelong and the coast, culminating in a final show featuring dancers, specials guests and more.

Lee left for Perth, W.A. early 2002 to pursue jazz studies though returned every six months for some showcase gigs. She is now establishing herself as quite an impressive independent singer/songwriter (www.tessalee.info for more). Her replacement is the experienced and affable Nadine Joy.

Guest musicians featured through the years have been David Lord (clarinet), Michael Barnes (clarinet), Zac Barter (bass), Rob Turner (violin), Tamil Rogeon (violin), Josie Scott (vocals), Sean Loughran (stand-up kit).

Hot Club Swing released their second full-length album Sacré Cœur, in Dec 2004. It features many original compositions as well as some hand picked jazz standards.

2007 was a huge year as it was time to celebrate the band's 10th birthday! Two successful shows were staged in Torquay and Brunswick with a plethora of guests, dancers and giveaways.

New Year's Day 08 saw the rhythm guitar role handed over to Matt Kenneally, as Steve James headed north to sunnier life in far north Queensland after nearly 8 years service. In 2011 the rhythm guitar was passed over to Jeremy Bourke.

2013 will be a milestone for the band with the release of their long-awaited 3rd full-length studio album 'Douce Ambiance'. Recorded over two days at the Scarecrow Patch in Ceres, this promises to be their best work yet. Released late July.

Other groups featuring members of HCS are: Chameleon (Ben Calderazzo); Bamboozle (Ben Calderazzo & Rob Gador); The Rhythm Method (Ben Calderazzo); Los Romanticos (Phil Smurthwaite); Billy Tea Bush Band (Phil Smurthwaite); Yohosie (Matt Kenneally); Canary (Matt Kenneally). Check out the Moonlighting page for more info and mp3 samples from these groups.