Hot Club of Cowtown
Rendezvous in Rhythm (Gold Strike)
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., June 14, 2013
Hot Club of CowtownRendezvous In Rhythm (Gold Strike)
European swing jazz defines Austin's Hot Club of Cowtown from its name on down, electrifying the trio's live sets locally and abroad for more than a decade. Until Rendezvous In Rhythm, however, its sixth studio LP, the Hot Club of Cowtown hadn't devoted an entire album to the style performed by their greatest influence, legendary Hot Club of France violin/guitar duo Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt. The fact that classically trained fiddler Elana James, guitarist Whit Smith, and bassist Jake Erwin are each among this Cowtown's best at their particular instrument guarantees that such an endeavor, especially as helmed by Lloyd Maines, burst with exuberance. Among the 14 tunes, American Songbook standards dominate, "I'm in the Mood for Love," "Crazy Rhythm," "Sweet Sue, Just You," and "Melancholy Baby," easygoing melodies by Reinhardt, Irving Berlin, Fred Loesser, and Al Jolson. HCOCT's arrangements allow for intricate interplay and crisply turned solos on a recording both joyful and masterfully executed.