"Hot Club 30 Years" our new compilation CD already getting GREAT reviews

It’s been 30 Years for The Hot Club Of San Francisco so to celebrate the occasion, they’ve self-released a 13-track gem of tracks culled from their 14 albums which include Monk (“Round Midnight”), Cole Porter (“I Love Paris”), Lennon/McCartney (“Because”), George Harrison (“If I Needed Someone”) and three from their main inspiration Django Reinhardt (the legendary three-fingered Belgium-born guitarist who, with violinist Stephane Grappelli, invented Gypsy Jazz in the 1930s). Guitarist Paul Mehling and violinist Evan Price approximate and even go beyond the premise of the original Hot Club of France to include classical impressionism, tango, waltz and an Edith Piaf song wherein Mehling switches to banjo. There’s even a woodwind quartet. This is sublime jam-happy music that transcends swing completely. Wholeheartedly Recommended.

~~Mike Greenblatt in “Rant & Roll”


Reviews from our first CD Release show for "John Paul George & Django"

"I usually don’t think that Beatles and jazz mix well, frankly, but by the sounds of it looks like HCSF pulled this one off!” - Laurence Donohue-Greene - Managing Editor, The New York City Jazz Record)



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)


Great review of Paul Mehling's Apreggio Power by a friend on Facebook

chitarrista e cantante at Silverbones

Lives in Parma, Italy

Hello Paul, thanks for accepting my friend request! I just wanted to thank you for the big inspiration you gave to me through your playing! Right now I'm studying your dvd Arpeggio Power and you made me discover a lot of new ways to think about arpeggios, so again thank you very much!!

Press Release for the new Hot Club SF CD "John Paul George & Django"

Press Release for the new Hot Club SF CD "John Paul George & Django"

August 10, 2016             RELEASE DATE: 10.7.16




     The Hot Club of San Francisco Goes Fab!

The Venerable Gypsy Swing Combo Interprets the Beatles on the Gorgeous New Album John, Paul, George and Django


It was only a matter of time before guitarist Paul Mehling focused his creative mojo on Lennon and McCartney’s vast and enduring treasure trove of songs. The founder and guiding spirit of the Hot Club of San Francisco, America’s longest running Gypsy swing ensemble, Mehling was first inspired to pick up a guitar when the Beatles launched the British Invasion via Ed Sullivan’s CBS variety show on Feb. 9, 1964. Now Mehling’s HCSF is recolonizing the Fab Four’s songbook in the name of Gypsy jazz legend Django Reinhardt with John, Paul, George and Django, a ravishing and consistently revelatory reimagining of classic Beatles tunes. Slated for release on Mehling’s Hot Club label in September, 2016, the band’s 14th album is designed both to seduce Beatlephiles and enchant Djangologists, with arrangements that serve the songs rather than turning them into vehicles for blazing solos.


“We’ve been road testing arrangements and tune selections for several years and it’s just gold,” Mehling says. “These tunes were really well crafted, and our job is to present the songs through our prism. Our vision can be summed up as WWDD?: What Would Django Do? What if he hadn’t died, and had lived long enough to interpret Beatles songs? Because you know he totally would have.”


In many ways, Mehling planted the seeds for the project some two decades ago. On 1994’s Quintet of the Hot Club of San Francisco the band interpreted “And I Love Her,” and a few years later on 1997’s Swing This, Mehling found an ideal conduit for Gypsy soul in “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” He wants to make clear that the album’s title isn’t intended to diminish Ringo Starr’s essential contributions, noting that like Ella Fitzgerald interpreting Cole Porter, the album is about “John, Paul, and George as composers.” Their songs have rarely sounded so enthralling.


With its psychedelic production and hypnotic 5/4 groove, “Fool On the Hill” feels like Django traded Parisian nightlife for an acid test, a trip he thoroughly enjoyed. With French-born Hot Club rhythm guitarist Isabelle Fontaine’s simmering delivery of her translated lyrics “If I Needed Someone” turns into a Gallic torch song (and check out Mehling’s brilliant interpolation of “Within You Without You” in his solo). “Don’t Bother Me” bounces with a swinging reggae feel, and “You Can’t Do That” gets to Paris via New Orleans with a washboard powered beat. “You Don’t See Me” gets a straight ahead Gypsy swing treatment, and the woozy ballad “Because” turns into a brisk Gypsy jazz sprint.


“We try to keep the kaleidoscope spinning so you don’t know what’s coming next,” Mehling says. “With so many Gypsy jazz records, it’s like okay, we get it! You’re a genius. You can play really fast. We’re looking to create an album that can be played repeatedly.”


One reason why the album works so well is that the HCSF is a busy ensemble with thousands of gigs under their belts together. A member of the HCSF since 1998, violinist Evan Price is a highly versatile player who earned top honors as a U.S. Scottish Fiddling Champion before performing with a hot-fiddle who’s who including Stephane Grappelli, Johnny Frigo, Claude “Fiddler” Williams, Johnny Gimble, and Vassar Clements. He spent 10 years in the creative crucible of the seminal Turtle Island String Quartet, touring internationally, collaborating with jazz luminaries like Cuban clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera, and pianists Dr. Billy Taylor and Kenny Barron and earning two Grammy Awards for the albums Four + 4 and A Love Supreme: The Legacy of John Coltrane (both on Telarc).


Based in the Bay Area since 2004, rhythm guitarist and vocalist Isabelle Fontaine was born and raised in the French countryside, where she absorbed the voices of Edith Piaf, Charles Trenet, and Yves Montand. A natural talent, she spent two decades touring southwest Europe playing drums in a jump blues combo, which led to her love of 1930s swing and the gypsy jazz of Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli and the Quintette du Hot Club de France. It wasn’t long before she picked up the guitar and applied her impeccable sense of rhythm to the instrument.


Fresno-native Sam Rocha has worked professionally as a bassist since high school. While largely self-taught, he’s deeply versed in the instrument’s lineage, from “Pops” Foster, Milt Hinton, and Bob Haggart to Jimmy Blanton, Ray Brown, and Scott LaFaro. In addition to his mastery of the bass, Rocha has absorbed the nuances of classic jazz tuba, cornet, and guitar, performing regularly on those instruments as well. And guitarist

Jordan Samuels, the most recent addition to the HCSF, is also one the busiest young players on the Bay Area scene. Since finishing his degree in composition and jazz studies at San Francisco State in 2010, he’s performed regularly with HCSF, Erik Jekabson’s Electric Squeezbox Orchestra, and his own trio Certified Organic, while performing with Bay Area masters such as Paula West, Wil Blades, Smith Dobson, Adam Theis, and Matt Clark.


Mehling traces his musical journey back to an epiphany at six years old, when he saw The Beatles on Ed Sullivan “and it was like getting hit by lightening,” he recalls. “I wanna do that - make the girls scream and give people the buzz I get from hearing the music.” In his teenage years he played in rock bands, but gravitated more toward acoustic guitar and started studying classical music “but that wasn’t what I wanted either,” he says. “Then I heard Django’s Hot Club of France: three guitars, bass, and violin and they sounded and acted like a rock band. I saw pictures of them and they looked sharp, sophisticated and mysterious.”


He spent his early years as a professional musician playing traditional New Orleans jazz on banjo and guitar, but didn’t think of trying to master Django’s music until traveling in Europe in the early 1980s and hearing guitarist Fapy Lafertin with the Belgian Gypsy jazz combo WASO. Combined with the inspiration from two visionary Bay Area ensembles known for drawing deeply from the Hot Club sound—Dan Hicks & his Hot Licks and the David Grisman “dawg music” Quintet—he honed his Django repertoire, and ended up landing a gig as lead guitarist with Dan Hicks’ Acoustic Warriors from 1985-1990, a highlight of which was their 1989 appearance on Austin City Limits.


Mehling launched the Hot Club of San Francisco in 1991, spearheading the American Gypsy jazz movement with countless concerts and a series of critically hailed albums, including 1999’s Lady in Red (Clarity) featuring Maria Muldaur, Dan Hicks, and jazz/blues vocal legend Barbara Dane. In 2000, the HCSF became the first American band invited to play the Festival de Jazz Django Reinhardt in Samois-Sur-Seine, ground zero for the ongoing Django revival. Over the years the band has featured a glittering array of talent, including guitarists Adam Levy, Josh Workman, Sam Miltich, fiddlers Jenny Scheinman and Olivier Manchon, and bassists Joe Kyle and Clint Baker.


 Though the present lineup has been in place for more than five years, creating John, Paul, George and Django put the band’s copacetic chemistry to the test. “It was very contentious, especially the arranging,” Mehling admits. “Everybody’s got really strong feelings about the Beatles. But I’ve had the band almost 30 years and Evan’s been in it almost 18. We’re all still friends and we worked it out! It took a long time to settle in on the program and then polish the arrangements. We’ve already got a list for volume 2!”




Hot Club of San Francisco Brings Jazz to the Masses

by Annie Alleman

Paul Mehling was 6 years old when he saw The Beatles perform on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

Even at that young age, he was a music lover, having been exposed to his father's vast record collection since birth. But seeing the Fab Four on TV was like getting hit by a bolt of lightning — suddenly he knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.

Fast forward a bunch of years, and that's exactly what he is doing — with a twist. Mehling is the leader of Hot Club of San Francisco, and he's bringing his band to Glen Ellyn this weekend. Hot Club of San Francisco performs at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Playhouse Theatre at the McAninch Arts Center at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn.

Mehling has been dubbed the godfather of American gypsy jazz, having discovered the music of Django Reinhardt and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France in grammar school.

He was born in Denver and grew up in California. He picked up the guitar after hearing The Beatles, and learned how to play rock, classical, swing — you name it. He wasn't satisfied, he said, until he heard the music of Django Reinhardt, who was playing jazz music with three guitars.

"Without certain people in history, especially in art, certain movements would never have happened. Certain people feel that, for instance, without Louis Armstrong, there would be no jazz at all," he said. "Now in France, nobody was really playing jazz in the 1930s. American musicians would go and play there in concert, but there was nobody playing jazz in France because it's a language and you learn it from other people that speak the language."

To remedy that situation, the French decided that a cultural exchange was in order, Mehling said. The solution was to have a French band open for the jazz musicians who came to France.

"The short version of the story is, Django Reinhardt was a gypsy who listened to American jazz by way of radio broadcast mostly, and seeing American bands when they came to France or Europe," he said. "Really, Django created his own style of jazz we call gypsy jazz because Django was a gypsy, he was born in a gypsy wagon. He was a nomad, he was a wandered, a very free spirit. He just wanted to play like an American jazz artist. So he started his band, called the Hot Club of France. And that's where we get our name — the Hot Club of San-FRAN-cisco."

Mehling got a lot of pushback in the early years of the band, from club owners and promoters who thought the name was too cumbersome and too much of an esoteric joke, he said.

Thirty years later and the joke's on them. Now, there are many, many bands emulating the style of Django Reinhardt and the Hot Club of San Francisco.

"The style basically is acoustic string jazz," he said. "It's like stringed instruments playing jazz, which is kind of unusual."

He learned how to play in that style, even going to France and "chasing down gypsies," he said.

The music "has something for everyone," he said. "It's got romance, it's got mystery, it's got sentimental value; and it's extremely hot and courageous and kind of show-offy. It's extremely balanced music; it appeals to everybody."

His band started off with friends and attracted interested musicians over the years, he said. The current edition of the Hot Club of San Francisco has been together for five years, anchored by Mehling and the violinist Evan Price. The band is rounded out by Isabelle Fontaine, Jeff Magidson, Sam Rocha and Jordan Samuels.

Fontaine, a native of France, was a fan of the band and is the wife of an ex-band member before coming aboard herself.

"She's our main rhythm guitarist and our French singer," Mehling said. "It's great having her."

The band has 13 albums under its belt and is about to make the 14th, he said. It's going to be an album of all Beatles tunes.

"We're doing it a little bit at a time," he said. "We're working at it very slowly because we want to get it right. We've recorded a few things ... it's an ongoing process. Hopefully it will be out by the end of summer. We're very excited about this record."

They try to cover every tune Reinhardt ever wrote, as well as some originals and some tunes "from the 1930s that Django didn't record but we wish he had," Mehling said.

That being said, Mac audiences will hear a show called "Postcards From Gypsyland," which includes originals, covers and maybe some Beatles tunes too.

"It's sort of a kaleidoscope of different things in the gypsy jazz style," he said.

He hopes to raise consciousness of Django Reinhardt and the style of music in the process, he said.

"We also try to turn people on to the idea of jazz is a really fun kind of music," he said. "A lot of people think they don't like jazz because maybe they aren't smart enough or they don't understand it. Jazz is an American invention and something they should be proud of and enjoy, not push to the side of their plate like vegetables."

Annie Alleman is a freelance writer.

Hot Club of San Francisco

When: Friday and Saturday

Where: McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn

Tickets: $45-$48

Information: 630-942-4000; www.atthemac.org

Copyright © 2016, Naperville Sun

Paul Pazzo Mehling invited to the 3rd annual Gypsy Jazz Festival in Brazil

Paul Pazzo Mehling invited to the 3rd annual Gypsy Jazz Festival in Brazil


An amazing journey to a beautiful country where the people LIVE for music! Turns out that nearly EVERY guitar player in Brazil has learned from my instructional DVDs & videos!!! I'm a celebrity! Jose Fernando Freitas did an AMAZING one-man job of organizing and producing this festival (and he's a player! he played in every show!), my eternal love and thanks to Jose and his family!

Can't wait to go back, check out these amazing photos: