Montana gets dazzling dose of Gypsy Jazz

Acclaimed duo joins locals in bringing Le Jazz Hot to Helena and Bozeman

On Stage

Step back into the 1930s Hot Club jazz scene in France with two nights of Gypsy jazz.

Tim Kliphuis has been named the successor of Parisian swing violin maestro Stephane Grappelli.

Two of the hottest names today in the genre – Tim Kliphuis of Netherlands and Alfonso Ponticelli of Chicago – bring together a mini Montana Django music festival on The Myrna Loy stage in Helena, 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 7, and perform at The Attic in Livingston, 7 p.m. Sunday, June 9.

Joining this internationally acclaimed duo for the Myrna show is Helena’s own Gypsy jazz quartet, Cottonwood Club, and Nancy and Ray Padilla from the Bozeman quartet Montana Manouche (which plays for a swing dance following the Livingston concert).

Sip a little wine as you sit back and soak in the sounds of Parisian swing music made famous by guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli.

Re-creating the 1930s in Paris, and drawing inspiration from current-day Gypsy, classical and folk music as well, the duo of Kliphuis and Ponticelli alternates moments of dazzling interplay with melancholy and sheer exhilaration, in an inspired journey that is different every night.

The Helena show opens with Cottonwood Club playing a mix of originals and some Gypsy jazz classics, followed by Kliphuis and Ponticelli duets. They’ll be joined by the Padillas, who have been playing Gypsy jazz for years. The concert finishes off with everyone on stage in one big rousing jam.

Kliphuis has been named the successor of Parisian swing violin maestro, Stephane Grappelli, and has played with all the famous Gypsy jazz musicians in Europe.

Ponticelli is the one who introduced Cottonwood Club guitarist Greg Hayes to the wonders of Gypsy jazz back in Chicago, where Ponticelli is considered “the leading Reinhardt champion.”

The mini Django festival is “a great way to kick off summertime in Helena,” says Hayes. “It’s such a fun music to play and such a fun music to watch.”

“It’s music for everyone,” says Kliphuis. “It’s very popular right now. The whole of France is buzzing with it. It’s having a great resurgence.”

“Everybody should come,” he adds. “It’s going to be a great night.”

The Livingston concert concludes with a swing dance featuring Montana Manouche, so bring your dancing shoes!

Tickets and Such

Myrna Loy in Helena: Tickets are $22 and available at, the box office at 15 N. Ewing St. or by calling 406-443-0287.

The Attic in Livingston: Tickets are $20 and available at online.