Fan Encounter in my hometown!

Had a total fangirl episode at the vet today. A man came in with his 18 year old kitty cat and I recognized him as Paul Mehling, manouche guitarist extraordinaire and leader of The Hot Club of San Francisco.

I went up to him, gushed about how he was one of my favorite guitarist ever and how many times I had seen him. He lit up and said I had made his day. We talked a little bit about his album John Paul George and Django which combines The Beatles with hot club playing. So great! He even went into his car and gave me his latest CD which is titled “30 Years of the Hot Club”

Now, my cat Rocky wasn't so happy to go in for the checkup, but I couldn't have been more thrilled!

~~Claudia Morgan (fangirl)

Fan REVIEWS of our JOHN PAUL GEORGE & DJANGO show at Kuumbwa Jazz Center 9.22.16

Hi, I just hope you recorded the show at Kuumbwa last night because it was amazing, beautiful, stunning and superlative. Thanks very much for one of the best music events of my life. (~ Jim)


I just loved the exuberant fluid vibe that you all shared at that live gig in a small together place. It really was remarkable and memorable..everyone around us was feeling it too. We dug it. It was pure gold. It's like we all heard those songs for the first time again and you guys made them your own and, I think, better. We were laughing and crying it was so cool. It was amazing, I am not kidding, you were amazing..everybody. We were just really lucky to be along for a great trip. Thanks again Paul,all the best to everybody, (~C&J, Santa Cruz )


I've seen many, many shows at Kuumbwa since 1976..Joe Pass, The Great Guitars, Oscar Peterson, Toots, Max Roach, Wynton Marsalis, Dan Hicks, David Grisman, Bill Monroe, The Flecktones, New Grass Revival, Milt Jackson, Bobby Hutcherson, The Brecker Brothers, etc.  The sheer joy, dexterity and deep feeling of the music you played took us to new places we will always remember. Too much? No. It's all true. We all felt it. It was beautiful. Thanks Hot Club SF (~J.Urban)


Post from Denis Chang on Facebook (Thanks Denis!)

Post from Denis Chang on Facebook (Thanks Denis!)

A few more days until Django's birthday. Django was a tremendous influence to so many musicians of so many styles. He claimed to be a jazz musician, but I think he was a bit more than that. Before the term Gypsy Jazz came along and the style became super codified (which is the contrary of what Django really was about) people who played in the style of Django were very diverse. The classical guitarist Julian Bream had a Django style band. So did Joe Pass.

When I started, there was practically no information available and the style wasn't as codified as it is today. I remember wanting instruction in the style but I couldn't find anything locally. By that time, Paul Mehling had been promoting and playing Django music in the USA for quite a while. He also published videos that were sold all over the world for people wanting to get started. I didn't benefit from these videos because they weren't easily available where I was. Nonetheless, he deserves credit for being one of the first to help people out.

I've only met him once, and he was nice enough to invite me over to his house to jam. He does not play in the codified Gypsy Jazz way, he plays in his own way with, of course, huge inspiration directly from Django himself (as opposed to many players today copying contemporary gypsy jazz players). He traveled a lot to Europe back in the day and hung out a lot with another under-appreciated musician, Serge Krief (whom I'll talk about another time). Great musician, and nice guy. Here's to your contributions Paul!

Recent Letter to Happy Traum of Homespun Tapes

Recent Letter to Happy Traum of Homespun Tapes

Hi Happy, I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity 20+ years ago to make the Django-style gypsy jazz VHS (and later, DVDs). I am just returning from Brazil where they have just held their 3rd annual Gypsy jazz festival. This year they invited me, and nearly EVERY guitarist (and some non-guitarists) have told me that they started their studies with my Homespun Tapes vids. So, it appears that I am not only the "Godfather of Gypsy Jazz in the USA (according to PBS)" but that I am also the "Godfather" of Gypsy Jazz in all of Brazil. I can't quite believe it myself, but in all humble honesty it appears to be the case. THANK YOU! ~Paul "Pazzo" Mehling

And here's his reply!

Dear Paul,

Thanks for the nice note and the FB post. And congratulations on your success and growing reputation here and in Brazil. That’s quite an accomplishment given all the great music down there! I’m glad we have been of help to you in your career and that Homespun’s reach goes that far. 

It’s always been a pleasure working with you and we wish you continued success with your music, performing and teaching. We’re proud to have you on Homespun.

All best,
Happy Traum

Fan comments from our YouTube page

Fan comments from our YouTube page

David Raeke

"Wow, you guys are amazing, mad chops."

Yoshie Hill

"They are brilliant!  Do not miss a chance to see them perform in person. Paul Mehling is quite the affable and witty entertainer as well as being  "The Godfather" of gypsy swing in the USA. Love these guys!"

See more below the video on YouTube!

Retired Stage Actress LOVES the Hot Club of San Francicsco

Retired Stage Actress LOVES the Hot Club of San Francicsco

A review of our show Cinema Vivant (Silent Film show) in Lynchburg, VA, 5/10/14:

Merci, mille fois, for dishing up the tastiest plate of French Fried entertainment this side of the Atlantic! Superb musicians, awe-inspiring animated films from those fertile years of earliest 20th century. 
Clearly showing where Disney's ideas came from, and laugh-out-loud stand-up comedy that actually was a seminar in the history of world music...and such music!  The amazing sounds of American jazz filtered through the Paris-based ears of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grapelli, whose ideas were cooked up in the same delicious stew that created Picasso, Picabia, Stravinsky, Nijinsky, Balanchine and Gertrude Stein...all hanging out together in ateliers and salons along the Seine and turning life into high comedy instead of a tragedy! And there it all happened again last night at the Academy, with all the energy and freshness the originals must have offered to patrons of the Lapin Agile in its glory days; they were the punk rockers, the rappers, the grunge bunch of their day. 
Everyone in my party (and it was a party!) agreed:
All around us, people were literally dancing in their seats...and you could see the feet tapping across the aisle, responding to the hot jazz from haute composers these amazing performers offer.   
These superb, multi-talented musicians were impressive not only for their mastery of multiple instruments and vocals, but also for the simple joy they exude onstage. 
We talked - joyously - about this extraordinary evening all the way back home in the "limo"!
Betsy Holland Gehman