Last summer I spent a month in Baltimore with friends and their cats, watching fireworks over the harbor from a rooftop, working on my novel, and generally enjoying life for the first time in years. One morning, flipping through the city paper over my bowl of millet and coconut milk, I found a listing for a concert by a group that was described as playing acoustic jazz in the Manouche style of Django Reinhardt. I had never met anyone who even knew Django Reinhardt and certainly never got to see any of his work performed live. They were called the Hot Club of Baltimore (Django founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France in 1934) and I immediately went online and bought a ticket. The show, which was on the second floor of what appeared to be an old townhouse, turned out to be one of the best live performances I have seen. I loved it and before leaving the city I was able to see them again, this time playing a much more intimate set in a small pub. Sitting at the bar I met Michael Joseph Harris, the leader of the group, and asked him if they had any records out. Not yet, he said, but they had some possible things in the works.
Flash forward a year and here I sit listening to this great record and drawing inspiration for my fiction writing. Hot Club of Baltimore essentially became UltraFaux. As quoted on their Facebook page, Harris explained the transition, saying, “After a year of performing strictly Django Reinhardt songs as Hot Club of Baltimore, it became clear that it was time to write our own original music and create a new band name for that purpose.”
They recently put out this great video, which I wish I could’ve been there for, looks like everyone had a great time:
You can check out the record on Bandcamp. If you dig it, please, please support the band. They’re extremely talented and doing their own thing their own way. Cheers~