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 artist blog

Hot Club

Hot Club or French Swing/Gypsy Jazz/Manouche Jazz is some of the world’s most infectious music, and a favourite of mine since I met it in the 80’s.  It’s a style of jazz invented by the Quintette du Hot Club de France in 1930's Paris. The quintet was set up by Romani (sub-group Manouche) guitarist Django Reinhardt and French violinist Stéphane Grappelli, and was the first all-string jazz band. The terms "Gypsy Jazz” and "Manouche Jazz” arose from the Romani influence imparted by Reinhardt. Grappelli and his Hot Club jazz violin enjoyed a revival in the 70's and 80’s (Reinhardt sadly passed away in the 50's). As a young person, I was captivated by Grappelli's life-affirming style - I even saw him live in Wellington, New Zealand! 



(with Joy)




Recycled fine silver (sealed against tarnishing); knitted waxed cotton; crocheted cotton.


62cm x 13cm x 5cm


When Monkton Arts (a music café and gallery in Ryde, Isle of Wight) invited artists to create pieces for an exhibition to complement their Gypsy Jazz Festival, it prompted me to listen again to the irrepressible recordings and re-experience the joy! Yes! I definitely felt called to create something inspired by this style.

My response uses the undulating nature of knitted and crocheted materials to capture the music’s continuous intertwining flow; and sparkling silver “waves” to highlight the flashes of pure joy that fly out at regular intervals!

As for the colours, I see the red as being about the creativity and passion with which this style was/is pursued and the black, perhaps the ability of the music to lift one out of dark places. The colours are also a nod to traditional Roma clothing colours.


The exhibition is on in the Sara-K Gallery at Monkton Arts for the duration of the Festival, 14-19th May.


If you’re excited to have a listen to this superb jazz style, I recommend the recordings by “Past Perfect” who have digitally remastered many of the original quintet’s recordings. Search “I Got Rhythm Past Perfect” on Youtube. Or look up "The Best of Stephane Grappelli” on Spotifiy (or equivalent).

Feel the joy!!



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