The Blue Note Jazz Festival hosted a jazz brunch at BB King Blues Club on Sunday, June 8. The Hot Club of Bushwick started unobtrusively, belying the effect the would soon have on the audience. The group focused on jazz menouche numbers, but didn't fail to entertain with references to groups like The Beatles, David Bowie and Nirvana.
They opened with a Django Reinhardt number, “Swing 42” showing of their true hot club sound. Guitarists Amos Rose and Matt Cross showed off incredible timing, while violinist Ellie Goodman reminded the audience why the violin is one of the greatest jazz instruments. The ensemble's swing had many people, this writer included, dancing in their chairs. Their music is incredibly danceable. Luckily many of their concerts include a dance floor!
The ensemble proved their ability to swing just about anything when they played a swing arrangement of David Bowie's “The Man Who Sold the World”. Matt Cross showed showed off surprise vocals, the first of many. In a bow to the jazz tradition of quoting from other pieces, “Blue Skies” started with references from “Stairway to Heaven”, eliciting surprised laughs and clapping from the audience.
The hot club gave a fiercely entertaining and danceable rendition of jazz standard “Just Friends” complete with a deep and resonant solo by bassist Ben Thomas. Amos Rose's vocals were spot on perfect in both this and in their rendition of the old Beatles favorite “Honey Pie”. His voice is a perfect match for the band's gypsy jazz style.
With the show coming toward the end, Amos Rose called out “We have two songs left for you. The first song is one, the second is two” and the band proceeded to play Django's famous “Minor Swing”. With fabulous solos by all, the band had the audience smiling and dancing in their chairs again. The show was supposed to end with the old Brazilian samba “Perguntão João”, but with the audience clapping and calling for more, they threw one more in. An incredible whistling solo by Matt Cross ended the awesome New York City afternoon as the hot club left the audience wanting more. Swing Heil!