When they hand out the Grammys for CD packaging, the Hot Club of Hulaville should have their acceptance speech ready. The deluxe edition comes in an air-mail-styled folder with separate replica Django Reinhardt passport, fan-letter reproduction, and an “issue” of the Waikiki Beach Gazette heralding the band. Great stuff.
Oh, and there’s also the CD itself, packed with 14 tracks of Django-inspired minstrelry that’s pure fun and never takes itself too seriously despite fine musicianship throughout. Hawaii must do something to your soul! The Hulaville Hot Club includes violinist Duane Padilla, guitarmen Sonny Silva and Emmett Mahoney, bassist David Chiorini, and singer Ginai. They’re joined here by guests Paul Mehling of the venerable Hot Club of San Francisco and Gonzalo Bergara of his own namesake quartet on guitar and bandoneon.
The band’s cover of “Some Enchanted Evening” sums up the band’s mood. The vocals are light and airy, perfectly suited to the song – and a moonlit Hawaiian night. Even on their cover of Astor Piazzolla’s Nuevo tango masterpiece “Libertango,” the group injects a joyous swing to the music. Throughout, on tracks from “Besame Mucho” to “Mambo Italiano” to Django’s “Minor Swing” with guest Rockford Holmes on sensuous clarinet, this is an enchanting album.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Mar. ’11 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.