The Icy Hot Club of California releases filler-free EP of Gypsy jazz gems
April 6, 2011 (Los Angeles, CA) Written by Robert Sutton. The mournful ache of Nino Rota's "The Godfather Theme" is one of cinema's most indelible and moving scores, summarizing the pain of tragedy with its sweeping notes.
In the hands of the Icy Hot Club of California, it nearly becomes a folk ballad as the acoustic guitars of Ethan Emerson and Ray Bergstrom weep in unison, one strumming with fevered passion while the other plaintively expressing its feelings.
It's the defining moment in the group's debut, The Icy Hot Club EP, but certainly not its only highlight. In fact, the six-track offering is a filler-free gem, a refreshing venture into an overlooked subgenre, Gypsy jazz.
Emerson and Bergstrom are devotees of the late Gypsy jazz pioneer Django Reinhardt, the legendary guitarist whose work has influenced musicians as diverse as Eric Clapton and George Benson but remains relatively unknown to casual jazz fans.
The Icy Hot Club reveals their affection for Reinhardt immediately, as the first track covers his "Minor Swing" with charging riffs. Emerson acknowledges the Reinhardt admiration; however, neither Reinhardt nor jazz was his first love in the music world. "I come from a rock & roll background, as do the other guys in the band, so it was a long journey to get to where we are today," Emerson revealed. "I grew up listening my dad's classic rock and blues records and during my teenage years more modern rock bands."
Echoes of the band's rock background can be occasionally sensed, especially when they transform "Sweet Georgia Brown" into a breakneck guitar jam. For the most part, though, the Icy Hot Club stays rooted to Gypsy jazz tradition, a decision which Emerson is aware will be sacrificing commerce over art. "Gypsy jazz is such a small genre and market; even the best players aren't making a lot of money, so there has to be a lot of love for the music," Emerson explained. "Knowing this allows us to do what we want to do and not have to worry about compromising with other people's expectations, but of course we won't be selling out the Staples Center anytime soon."
More Information: http://www.icyhotclub.com