Giving the violin a feisty new lease on life, the Hot Club Quartet breaks classical confines to bring gypsy jazz to audiences who like to dance.
Usually associated with classical music, the violin isn’t famous for a floor-stomping good time… but violinist Monica Martin and The Hot Club Quartet are changing all that. Their style of music is called ‘gypsy jazz’ and it brings together these two genres in an unforgettable way.
“The two main characteristics of gypsy jazz are the lead instrument, in this case the violin, playing in a swing rhythm, and the guitarist playing a fast strumming rhythm,” Monica says. “It sounds like boom-chick-boom-chick and it’s very fun, energetic and catchy music.”
The Hot Club Quartet: Guitarist Jeremy Hawker, Monica Martin on violin, drummer Reg Braun, and Bob Passmore on double bass.
Monica was drawn to this style of music after performing The Soul of Tango violin/guitar concert at the Townsville Civic Theatre with David Roberts.
“The Latin music we performed was so passionate and full of life. It inspired me to explore a style of music other than classical,” Monica says. “I wanted to find a style that’s fiery and wild yet elegant and classy at the same time. I started listening to more of Stephane Grappelli, who is one of the pioneers of gypsy jazz. I’m so in love with his playing and drawn to the style because it’s so different from the classical world. It’s technically just as tricky as playing classical music, but to me more liberating because you get to play around with the rhythms, slide in and out of notes and play solos.”
“I wanted to find a style that’s fiery and wild yet elegant and classy at the same time.”
Eventually Monica gained enough confidence to perform at the local jazz club where she met Bob Passmore and they both agreed it would be fun to form a gypsy jazz band. And so The Hot Club Quartet was born in early 2017, with Monica on violin, Bob on double bass, Jeremy Hawker on guitar and Reg Braun on drums.
“These guys are very accomplished and experienced players, which has made me rise to the occasion and become a better jazz player,” Monica says. “We’re the band to hire if you want something other than a rock or pop band. Audiences can expect to be dazzled and entertained by our high-energy music.”