The Mill City Hot Club was started by founding club member and guitarist Dean Harrington. The music is based on the tradition of gypsy jazz, pioneered in the 1920s by the Belgian guitarist Django Reinhardt and French violinist Stephane Grappelli of the famous Quintet of the Hot Club of France.
This style of jazz was popular through the 1920s-1940s, and has seen a resurgence in the US in recent years. The core instrumentation consist of two acoustic gypsy guitars (Selmer/Maccafarri), upright string bass, and violin; but is not limited to this configuration. Sometimes the group includes other instruments that would be common to the style such as accordion, clarinet, and drums. Although the music and instrumentation is based on the original hot club style, the Mill City Hot Club uses this platform as inspiration for other styles of music including modern jazz, Latin jazz, blues, and more. The band performs with both the original hot club acoustic instrumentation, but also in an electric format similar to the swing/jazz bands of the 1950s-1960s. Depending on the venue, you’ll hear the Mill City Hot Club performing in configurations from a quintet to a duet, with the original acoustic instrumentation or with a more modern electric sound. All of the club members are professional musicians from the twin cities metro area who are regular performing musicians locally and nationally. The variability of club members means the lineup of musicians can change at any particular event. Jazz has always been about the spirit of improvisation and the music is the most exciting when musicians are able to stretch. All of the musicians in Mill City Hot Club are seasoned pros and skilled improvisers.