Mark O’Connor’s Hot Swing
Live In New York
Violinist Mark O’Connor got hooked on the records of Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt at 13; four years later he joined Grappelli (as a guitarist) where he was able to observe the elder’s nuances firsthand and, at the master’s insistence, play a couple of duets with him. He continues to pay homage to his main man on this, his third Hot Swing Trio disc, in company with guitarist Frank Vignola and ex-Grappelli bassist Jon Burr. Anticipating something along the lines of that fabled Quintet of the Hot Club of France, I was a bit disappointed to find none of the sizzling unison-playing heard on those 70-year-old records. Instead O’Connor and Vignola mostly take solo turns (but what turns!) on such flag-wavers as “Cherokee,” “Tiger Rag” and O’Connor’s “Gypsy Fantastic,” which has the flavor of the Hot Club, and a relaxed “Ain’t Misbehavin’.” O’Connor’s also noted for his classical music endeavors and in the liners he mentions “a chamber music sensibility” to the trio’s efforts which I feel interferes with what should be a more soulful experience.