Hot Club Swing performs an exciting and highly infectious style of music that could be best described as French Gypsy Jazz. The music draws from an exotic palate of classical, jazz and Gypsy influences, painting on a canvas that can be eloquently French, starkly rustic or darkly and romantically Gypsy. The group is mainly inspired by the virtuosic Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, who originated this acoustic music in 1930’s Paris.

As a result of many showcase performances, Hot Club Swing has built a dedicated and diverse audience, which is always eager to return to an evening of this captivating music accompanied by the indulgences of a la carte dining and fine wine. The group has also been featured at many weddings, corporate and government functions, adding that sought after ambience.

The current quintet features: Ben Calderazzo (leader/guitar); Phil Smurthwaite (violin); Jeremy Bourke (rhythm guitar), Rob Gador (double bass); and Nadine Joy (vocals).

"Hot Club Swing capture a warm, swinging all-string sound taking audience hearts and imaginations captive....the band's intuitive and empathic interplay is a feature of their live set." The Age.


Originally formed in the summer of 1997 in the Australian regional town of Geelong, with guitarists Ben Calderazzo & Ben Keon-Cohen sharing lead & rhythm guitar duties. These two classmates from the local TAFE jazz course met violinist Phil Smurthwaite at a school jam session and met up regularly for more informal jams and rehearsals. As with the often humble beginnings of many bands, cafes, restaurants and festival spots were the order of the day: the chance for the group to hone their skills and develop repertoire.

A meeting with double-bassist Rob Gador in mid-98 provided the opportunity to add the much-needed fourth member to round out their developing sound. An overseas trip taken by Keon-Cohen in early '99 left a gap which was filled by local jazz stalwart Steve James, opting to play rhythm guitar exclusively. The quartet now began to gig heavily in and around Geelong, including Port Fairy Music Festival, the 2nd Queenscliff Music Festival and countless other events.

A chance meeting with chanteuse Tessa Lee in 2001 brought her French/English vocals to the band and eventually, the studio. Musique du Jour was recorded Jun-Dec 2001 at Beechfront Media, engineered by Richard Beechey, and released Mar 2002. The band embarked on a mini-tour of Geelong and the coast, culminating in a final show featuring dancers, specials guests and more.

Soon after this, Lee left for Perth, W.A. to pursue jazz studies at WAPA though returned home every six months for some showcase gigs and later, to lay vocals down for the second HCS album (see below). She is now an established, independent singer/songwriter based in Tasmania. Her replacement was long-term friend of the band, Nadine Joy.

Hot Club Swing released their second full-length album Sacré Cœur in Dec 2004. It featured mostly original compositions as well as some hand picked jazz standards and even concluded with an intimate duet with Tessa singing La Vie En Rose and Steve on a vintage Gibson electric jazz guitar.

2007 was a huge year as it was time to celebrate the band's 10th birthday! Two successful shows were staged in Torquay and Brunswick with a plethora of guests, dancers and giveaways.

New Year's Day 2008 saw the rhythm guitar role handed over to Matt Kenneally, as Steve James headed north to sunnier life in far north Queensland after nearly 8 years service. In 2011 the rhythm guitar was again traded, this time to Jeremy Bourke.

2013 was a milestone for the band with the release of their long-awaited 3rd full-length studio album 'Douce Ambiance'. Recorded over two days at the Scarecrow Patch in Ceres, this is arguably their best work yet and the first to feature vocalist Nadine Joy and guitarist Jeremy Bourke.

2017 was another milestone: the 20th anniversary of the band! To commemorate, some intimate shows with limited tickets were held, including special guests and friends on stage to have some fun and celebrate.

Guest musicians featured through the years have been David Lord (clarinet), Michael Barnes (clarinet), Zac Barter (bass), Rod Gear (double bass), Rob Turner (violin), Tamil Rogeon (violin), Josie Scott (vocals), Sean Loughran (stand-up kit).

The band continues to play jazz clubs, festivals etc as well as professional functions and private events.