The Hot Club of San Francisco




Paul Mehling, the leader of HCSF, has been dubbed the godfather of American Gypsy jazz. He discovered the music of Django Reinhardt and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France in grammar school, and decades later the music that took root in his young soul finally bore fruit.

“I was born in Denver and grew up in what is now Silicon Valley when it was all fruit trees,” Mehling recalls. “My father was a record collector. I grew up with the music of Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Glenn 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. To this day, I get a sense of déjà 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. Being exposed to swing at an early age predisposed me to playing this kind of music.”

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