Hot Club of Philadelphia brings gypsy jazz to Chestnut Hill

A break in the most recent heat wave, coupled with acoustic jazz reminiscent of a by-gone era provided the perfect ambience for a relaxing mid-week evening in Chestnut Hill. The Hot Club of Philadelphia played to an enthusiastic crowd during the second to last of the 2012 Pastorius Park Summer Concerts series. Local police officers, firefighters and postal employees were the honored guests. The free outdoor concert series is put on by the Chestnut Hill Community Association (CHCA).

The members of the Hot Club of Philadelphia perform a distinctive flavor of acoustic sound dubbed gypsy jazz, which is based on the music of guitar legend, Django Reinhardt. Lead guitarist, Barry Wahrhaftig and violinist, Mark Campiglia formed the group in 2001.

Gypsy Jazz began in France in the 1930s, combining some of the elements of swing jazz with musette waltzes and gypsy folk guitar.  There are no percussion instruments. Together, Reinhardt and violinist, Stephane Grappelli founded the Qunitette du Hot Club de France in 1934. Their sound is among the most significant and original in jazz history and Reinhardt’s guitar virtuosity has made him a major influence on numerous guitarists of varying music genres.

Police, Fire & Postal Workers Picnic

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Just prior to the evening concert, CHCA and volunteers served up a picnic meal to local police, fire fighters and postal workers in gratitude for their public service. CHCA’s Police, Firefighters and Postal Workers Picnic event, now in in its 14th year, takes place annually in Pastorius Park in the last week of July.

One family in particular was glad to have the opportunity to personally thank and serve fire fighters from Engine 37. The Murrays – Rob, Annette and Sara – recently suffered a devastating electrical fire in their Chestnut Hill home. The fire broke out on June 30, while the family was away at a graduation party in Allentown. Three boys from nearby Our Mother of Consolation school alerted neighbors, who then called 911 and rescued the Murray’s pets. Serveral fire companies responded and were able to put out the blaze and save the Murray’s house, at 27 West Southampton street. One of the Murray’s cat was initially believed to have been lost in the fire, but the quick response of the Phialdelphia fire department saved its life.

Local Philadelphia R&B band, The Dukes of Destiny will give the final performance in the 2012 Pastorius Park Summer Concert series. The concert will take place August 1 at 7:30 p.m.

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