Django Replayed: The Gypsy Jazz of Hedgehog Swing

The legendary music of 1930s jazz virtuoso Django Reinhardt is alive and well in Orange County… if you know where to look. Long Beach-based Gypsy jazz band Hedgehog Swing plays every first and third Wednesday at the Gypsy Den in downtown Santa Ana, along with members of the Orange County-based Gypsy jazz band Riff Raff. Riff Raff have hosted this event for many years, leading the song choices on the first Wednesday of every month, with Hedgehog Swing hosting every third Wednesday. Their lively jazz sets conjure nostalgic memories of walking down Parisian streets in the 1930s that you didn’t even know you had.

Every “Django Jam” brings together groups of musicians who skillfully play Django Reinhardt-penned hot jazz standards including “Minor Swing,” “Django’s Tiger,” “Daphne,” and “Nuages,” along with other romantic songs from the era like “Dark Eyes,” “Pennies from Heaven,” and “All of Me.” In addition to the core members of Riff Raff and Hedgehog Swing, some evenings also bring in special guest musicians like violinist Laura Merryfield. The last jam session also included the guitarist Jeff Radaich who plays rhythm guitar for the Gonzalo Bergara Quartet and the Long Beach-based Gypsy jazz trio Black Market Trust.

This is music that lights up the room. Whether audience members came to the Gypsy Den knowing they were in for a treat, or whether they luckily stumbled upon this charming evening of jazz standards, these songs leave every audience member charmed. The musicians of Hedgehog Swing, which consist of clarinetist Kale Stiles, guitarists Luca Pino and Gage Hulsey, and bassist Benj Clarke, draw you in with the charisma and jubilance with which they play these classic songs. Influenced by contemporary Gypsy jazz musicians like Stochelo Rosenberg and Angelo Debarre, Hedgehog Swing brings skill and passion to their playing.

So, if you ever find yourself wishing you could fly to Paris in the middle of the work week, let yourself be transported by the nostalgic music of Riff Raff and Hedgehog Swing at the Gypsy Den in Santa Ana every first and third Wednesday from 7:00-10:00 p.m.


Django Jam at the Gypsy Den:

125 N Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92701

Every 1st and 3rd Wednesday, 7:00-10:00 p.m.


For more information on Hedgehog Swing:

To view a live show of Hedgehog Swing:

Photography by Eric Stoner.


2 Responses to “Django Replayed: The Gypsy Jazz of Hedgehog Swing”
  1. Ricky stiles says:

    Kale stiles is amazIng to hear play.
    Super Good !

    That’s my son.

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