Oct. 29, 2018

Concerts At The College presents The Hot Club of Philadelphia


Join the College of Physicians and Mütter Museum for a Halloween-inspired gypsy jazz concert with The Hot Club of Philadelphia!

WHAT is Gypsy Jazz?

A word about the music and it’s origins. The Hot Club of Philadelphia plays music often referred to as Gypsy Jazz, based on the recordings of Belgian-born Gypsy Guitarist Django Reinhardt and French Violinist Stephan Grappelli. Django was one of the most influential guitarists of the 20th century. Born in a traveling Gypsy caravan in Liberchies, Belguim on Janunary 24,1910, he was self-taught, and could not read or write music.

Django was illiterate, though he eventually learned to write his name. Coming from the Gypsy tradition, he was used to living outdoors; he didn’t sleep indoors or own a suit until he was in his twenties. A true original, with many idiosyncrasies, he was the subject of many myths and stories. He captured the imagination of writers and film makers, including a mention in the novel “From Here to Eternity”, by James Jones. Woody Allen’s brilliant 1999 release “Sweet and Lowdown”, the main character guitarist “Emmett Ray”, [played by Sean Penn], is a Django Reinhardt wanna-be. [The guitar parts in the movie were played by Howard Alden]. The film has introduced Django’s music and story to an entirely new audience.

The legend of Django is based to some extent on the fact that his left hand was badly burned in a fire in 1928. He had the use of only the 1st & 2nd fingers of his fret hand. He essential created a new way to play the guitar. Modern players, who have the use of all their fingers, are still struggling to recreate Django’s inspired solos. Django and Grappelli teamed up 1934 to form the Quartet of the Hot Club of Paris. They were initially influenced by the playing of guitarist Eddie Lang and the violinist Joe Venuti. Django and Stephan came up with a unique take on the American Jazz repertoire, in instrumentation and style. The group usually consisted of two or three guitars, bass, and fiddle. Most of the groups at the time had banjo, drums, and horns. Django’s playing reflected the influences of Gypsy musical traditions, along with Grappelli’s Continental flair. In addition to playing popular songs of the time, like “Lady Be Good” and “Dinah”, they also played originals like the haunting melody of “Nuages”, The Gypsy Jazz anthem “Minor Swing”, featured in the movie Chocolate, and reworked eastern European folk tunes like “Dark Eyes”, often played at break-neck tempos. There is an amazingly warm and sincere aspect to this music.

ABOUT The Hot Club of Philadelphia

The Hot Club of Philadelphia was started in 2001 by guitarist Barry Wahrhaftig. They are an acoustic ensemble, dedicated to playing 'Gypsy Jazz.' That's the term used to describe the music pioneered by the legendary original 'Hot Club of France Quintet,' which was led by guitarist Django Reinhardt and Violinist Stephane Grappelli. Django and Grappelli were attempting to do their own version of American 'Hot Jazz,' as played by stars like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. They used acoustic guitars, bass and violin, rather than horns and drums. Grappelli and Django added some French and Gypsy flavor and created a blend of music that is quite popular and accessible. The HCPhilly mixes the original style of the HCOF, along with their own modern influences.

The band performs as a trio, quartet, quintet, etc. There have been some changes in the line up through the years. Bassist Jim Stager has been with the group from the beginning. Joshua Machiz, Alexandre Hiele and Dylan Taylor all perform with the band frequently. Dan Pearce is the 2nd guitarist, and violinist Joseph Arnold is a key part of the group's recordings and shows, and clarinetists Bob Butryn and Paul Butler are also mainstays.

The band features vocalists Phyllis Chapell and Cecilia Ferneborg, and has also collaborated with Denise King. Barry also sings, and he'll add a Sinatra or Nat King Cole standard, in addition to songs of the 20's 30's & 40's.

The group has performed for a wide range of venues, including; The Kimmel Center's PIFA Festival, the area's first 'Diner en Blanc', The World Café Live, Sellersville Theater, WHYY-NPR, Musikfest-Bethlehem, Pastorius Park Summer Festival, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, The Barnes Foundation & The Phila Museum of Art, to name a few.

The concert begins promptly at 7:00 PM with one 15-minute intermission. Seating is first come, first served.
Complimentary reception includes beer, wine, and light food.
The Mütter Museum will not be open during this event.

Questions? Please email
Event registration is non-refundable, but is transferable to other people.


The Mütter Museum helps the public appreciate the mysteries and beauty of the human body while understanding the history of diagnosis and treatment of disease.

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