News Column

Gypsy jazz debuts on State Theatre stage Saturday

November 14, 2013


Nov. 14--The State Theatre continues its unique cultural offerings Saturday with gypsy jazz from The Hot Club of San Francisco.

The five-piece West Coast music group presents two offerings this weekend in Culpeper beginning with a gypsy swing master class for guitarists at 2 p.m. in the Main Street venue. The Hot Club will also present Cinema Vivant -- live music and silent film -- at 8 p.m. Saturday.

The sounds of the French countryside in the 1930s inspired the genre of music whereby wandering musicians would travel in caravans, setting up camp outside of town, playing their guitars and fiddles to coincide with the movements of a silent film projected on the side of a barn. The Hot Club of San Francisco further celebrates the music of Django Reinhardt and Stephanie Grappelli's Hot Club de France.

The act playing Culpeper Saturday features bandleader Paul Mehling, dubbed the godfather of American gypsy jazz, according to

"My father was a record collector. I grew up with the music of Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Glen Miller and all the swing era bands. He'd come home and turn on the stereo and, at a year old, I'd sit in front of the speakers and soak up the music," he said at the web site. "To this day, I get a sense of deja vu whenever I hear a song I heard back then. When I was older, I became a discipline problem because I wanted to stay up all night and listen to records."

Mehling, who grew up in California, previously played guitar and banjo with Jake Stock and the Abalone Stompers, The Santa Cruz Symphony, The Magnolia Jazz Band and The Hot Club of Friends.

The Hot Club of San Francisco features musicians Evan Price on violin, Clint Baker on bass, Isabelle Fontaine on guitar, Jeff Magidson on guitar and Sam Rocha on bass in addition to Mehling on lead guitar.

For ticketing information, contact the State Theatre Box Office at (540) 829-0292 or at


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