The Courtyard Kings have held down Thursdays at Bacchanal for over 10 years. As of last year the band no longer exists but former members have split into different bands. Violinist Mike Harvey’s spinoff band Mike Harvey’s Hot Club has released a new album.
You’ll recognize several of the tunes on this album, but you won’t have heard them played this way. The band has taken selections from a diverse range of sources and interpreted them with gypsy style and instrumentation. They’ve also included some Django classics, jazz standards, a choro song and a few original tunes as well. The band calls their interpretation of this eclectic mix of influences “progressive New Orleans gypsy jazz,” and it’s spot-on for the Bacchanal crowd.
It seems a bit unorthodox to head off the album with “Giorgio by Moroder,” a track from Daft Punk’s 2013 disco nostalgia album, Random Access Memories. However, the original version features a monologue from disco-synth maestro Giorgio Moroder about the evolution of genres and taste. Music is music is music being the idea. Perhaps the band is making a subtle statement about their genre-defying intentions. “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” is another intriguing and surprisingly effective choice. Paul Simon’s verbosity lends well to lightning-fast gypsy styling. “Life on Mars” is a smart choice for a cover, just ask Seu Jorge. “I Like to Ride My Bike” is a catchy original from guitarist Mark Weliky. Mike Harvey and Nathan Lambertson also have originals on the album, “Djaphunkta” and “October” respectively, which make for good acreage to show off each member’s technical skills. Speaking of technical skills, props to Mike Harvey for recording, mixing, mastering and designing the album layout. It’ll be interesting to see where their progress takes them on future albums.