Rolling out this fall: a new concert series featuring a range of music, including gypsy jazz, Americana, ’20s and ’30s swing, maybe even klezmer! The Chestnut Hill Community Concert Series is the brainchild of local musician and Co-op member Barry Wahrhaftig, founder and lead guitarist of the Hot Club of Philadelphia, the popular local gypsy jazz band. Most shows will take place at the Venetian Social Club, at 8030 Germantown Ave., and the series is partially sponsored by Weavers Way.
The first concert in the series on July 30 showcased French guitarist/composer Stephane Wrembel, a gypsy jazz virtuoso whose music has been featured in Woody Allen films such as “Midnight In Paris” and “Vicky Christina Barcelona.” Before the SRO show, Wrembel and his band presented a program on the history of gypsy jazz and its founder, Django Reinhardt.
Wahrhaftig conceived of the series after booking shows at the Venetian for artists like German virtuoso Joscho Stephan, New York-based seven-string jazz guitarist Howard Alden and the Boston-based Rhythm Future Quartet.
“I figured since the music was non-corporate and organic, I’d ask Weavers Way to sponsor us,” said Wahrhaftig. “Many of my band’s fans are workers or members of the Co-op, so it made sense.” A portion of the proceeds from each concert in the series goes to Food Moxie, Weavers Way’s affiliated nonprofit.
“Gypsy jazz” is a term used to describe the style of music created by the original Hot Club of France, founded in the ’30s by violinist Stephane Grappelli and Reinhardt. The sound was based on the idea of playing the jazz coming from the United States at the time, but using acoustic guitars, bass and violin, without drums and horns.
The series will continue for 10 months to a year, with shows about every six weeks, Wahr-haftig said. The next show, on Sunday, Sept. 25, features singer-guitarist Marty Grosz and his band, who specialize in swinging ’20s and ’30s jazz. Grosz, whose humorous stories are legendary, has appeared on “A Prairie Home Companion” and at Carnegie Hall.
The Rhythm Future Quartet returns on Oct 16. “They are sort of the prog-rock band of gypsy jazz,” Wahrhaftig said
For tickets and showtimes, visit www.HotClubPhilly.com.