Hot Swing Press & Mentions

Concert Review: Hot Swing Trio

December 23, 2007

Concert Review: Hot Swing Trio
“Mark O'Connor-he's not what you would call...human.” – Stephane Grappelli

“a direct disciple and former sideman of [Stephane] Grappelli…Mr. O'Connor makes Mr. Grappelli's long, swiveling lines even longer and smoother…"-New York Times

“O'Connor's command, phrasing and drive are delights, and I still find myself cheering at the sheer gymnastics and precision of the assembly.” – John McDonough, Downbeat

“…what I find most exciting about Hot Swing is the collective willingness of its members to knock down the artificial boundaries between seemingly different musical idioms”– Terry Teachout, Washington Post

“Hi Mark....what a pleasure your concert last night was! "Anniversary" was brilliant..very "rock and roll...and the beautiful tribute to Claude Williams.

"You are a marvel to behold...You continue to redefine violin and jazz. Hopefully seeing you in October!” – Mark Wood, Rock Violinist

“These guys have chops to spare!” – Blair Jackson, October 22, 2004

“Mark "O" at Croces was smoking. Big time tempos with Mark shredding bop lines like no one you've ever heard. That cat is a hero....  ” – Peter Sprague (San Diego Jazz Guitarist)

“A belated thanks for the disc you laid on me when we met at Merkin Hall last January 31. It's staggeringly beautiful, truly bracing and exciting, and I was so happy to spend my evening in your musical company. "Hot Swing Trio--Live in New York" is certain to ornament my listening hours for many years to come.
I hope this note finds you well and thriving. Perhaps our paths will cross again one day soon.
Again, thanks for your gift--your musical gift as well as the present of the CD.”
– Steven Blier

St. Petersburg Times
November 12, 2000
Concert Review: Mark O'Connor, Jon Burr, Frank Vignola

Headline:  Masterful jazz in style of masters

  As violinist Mark O'Connor knows, the music of Stephane Grappelli and
Django Reinhardt is practically capable of stopping the rain. Their joyous
interplay is one of the most glorious sounds found in jazz. O'Connor and two
other musicians attempt to use this wonderful music as a stepping off point,
and succeed admirably. The Mahaffey Theater rang with the smooth laughter of
Grappelli's musical styles in "A Tribute to Stephane Grappelli" Friday night.

  If the inspiration occasionally flags, the love inherent in the music does
not. O'Connor played with Grappelli, and his affection shone through every

  Taking Grappelli/Reinhardt compositions, standards played by the pair (and
their group, the Quintet of the Hot Club of France), and O'Connor's own songs
in the style of Grappelli, they create music that is like the shade of a tree
on a hot day.

  Refreshing, creative and little besides fun, O'Connor, guitarist Frank
Vignola and Jon Burr on bass simply swing, and set the small crowd swingin'
as well. Reinhardt's exquisite "Nuages" was a tender reworking of that
heartfelt melody, while "Ain't Misbehavin'" (by Fats Waller) is still one of
the loveliest songs ever written.

  The trio did not slavishly attempt to duplicate Grappelli/Reinhardt's
almost telepathic interplay. While they occasionally made it clear that they
could do just that, their own styles rang through.

  O'Connor is recognized as one of the
finest violinists in the world, while Vignola left a crowd of guitar players
with their mouths hanging open in admiration. Bass player Burr's solo "Makin'
Whoopie" was crisp and funny, playing lead and rhythm simultaneously.

  Guitarist Vignola's reminisces of Reinhardt's style - chromatic
ascensions, playing octaves and full chord leads - brought the crowd up short
more than once. His solo, "Stardust," was casual yet clear. His guitar (a
duplicate of Reinhardt's favorite) rang through with a subtlety Reinhardt was
not often allowed in performance. (You have to play an acoustic guitar hard
to be heard with a violin.)

  O'Connor's tone sang with pleasure, drawing the crowd  into an intimate
gathering. Their concert turned into living room music, rich, heartfelt and
relaxed. Songs like "This Can't Be Love," "Minor Swing" and even "Hold That
Tiger" were reinvented before our eyes, and caressed by the six hands on
stage, as were we all.

           PETER SMITH

by St. Petersburg Times

updated 3 years ago