Hot Club of Cowtown

Swing is definitely the thing for the Hot Club of Cowtown, whether it's the Parisian variety of Gypsy jazz played by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli or Western swing from deep in the heart of Texas via Bob Wills. The group—originally violinist Elana James and guitarist Whit Smith—initially made a name for itself with sizzling covers of vintage material that emphasized instrumental prowess. Scattered originals joined their repertoire, but by 2005, the band—then a trio with Jake Erwin on bass—broke up, only to reunite shortly after with a fresh head of steam. This year's Wishful Thinking (Gold Strike) boasts all the Club's usual strengths, with fine covers of Wills's "Can't Go on This Way" and Hoagy Carmichael's "Georgia," but they also expand their range by adding drummer Damien Llanes, and more than half the tunes are originals. James, in particular, has developed into a fine singer whose cool intimacy nicely contrasts with the hot picking, but she also stands out on a breathy version of the Gershwins' "Someone to Watch Over Me."
Wed., Nov. 18, 7 p.m., 2009
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