ALL YOU've ever wanted TO KNOW:
Artist, singer, musician, writer
Benoit Viellefon is one of the last "old fashion" band leaders keeping the craft alive in Europe today, backed by an all star cast of the UK's finest swing musicians. Here is his story.
Whether it be as a lifelong student of the glorious gypsy guitar musings of Django Reinhardt or as a crew member and specialist mechanic on 1930s De Havilland Tiger Moth airplanes, Benoit has always had a penchant for the nostalgic things in life. Like the man himself, Benoit's music is characterized by its distinctive elegance and boundless energy.
Born and educated in France, Benoit left his country for the USA in 1997 and then London England in 1998 to establish his label JohnJohnRecords.com and to work as a first-call session guitarist on many film soundtracks, international Reggae & Roots Music tours and on London's burgeoning vintage cabaret and burlesque scenes.
Having toured extensively in Europe and Japan as lead guitarist with groups such as ska legends The Trojans, Gaz Mayall, Prince Buster, Rico Rodiguez, Vin Gordon (Studio1 & Bob Marley), Louis Alphonso (Bad manners), Nick Welsh (the Selecter), Rhoda Dakar (Special AKA), and Eddie Tantan Thornton (Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Boney M, Aswad), Benoit decided it was time to step firmly into the limelight as band leader.
Benoit formed his orchestra in 2009 and it was immediately a hit on London's cabaret and vintage speakeasy scene. Since then Benoit and his Orchestra have played all over the UK and Europe to critical acclaim, fulfilling Benoit's vision of a contemporary orchestra who command the dance floor like the master entertainers of the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s.
Wether with The Orchestra, The Hot Club or The Trio, Benoit has recorded some well received albums, played many pretigious venues, from residencies at Ronnie Scotts and the Royal ALbert Hall, to Glastonbury Festival, BBC radio3, he also appeared in a good number of Hollywood films, TV productions, and some Immersive theatre shows. He got booked by Madonna, Mr Bean, the Kremlin, the Royal Family and many other celebrities to perform at their private events. He is curently living mostly in the UK, but also in France and Japan.
Mogador : "Gnawa All Stars"
(2000) Studio album 10 tracks - (World music, Morrocan Gnawa)
JohnJohn : "Debut Album"
(2002) Studio album 11 tracks - (Rock Pop trio)
Electric & fretless bass, co-songwriter
Gentleman Tim & The Contenders : "Left hooked on the blues"
(2006) Studio album 15 tracks - (Chicago blues & West Coast swing)
The princetones : "After the rain"
(2006) Studio EP 5 tracks / Film sountrack for Channel4 - (Reggae & Rocksteady)
Electric bass & electric guitars
The Cordials : "Mr Mitty"
(2011) Studio album 10 tracks - (Irish Folk Rock)
Electric bass & acoustic/electric guitars
Gaz Mayall & The Trojans : "The Smasher"
(2013) Studio album 17 tracks - (Celtic Ska & Roots music)
Benoit Viellefon & His Orchestra
Seven piece swing dance band...
In his flagship project, Benoit directs an ensemble of internationally acclaimed musicians in a manner reminiscent of Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway and Charles Trenet at the very height of their popularity. His authentic vocal renditions of French chanson, Swing, Russian folk, Latin American dance music have captivated audiences across the UK and all over Europe, Russia and the Far East. Benoit's successful tours in Italy, France, Belgium, Croatia, Russia and Japan are testament to the orchestra's dazzling mix of high-energy multi-instrumental virtuosity and effortless melody, guaranteed to have audiences on their feet and in each others' arms
The Orchestra are the hottest live outfit for all those who revel in the nostalgia and elegance of a bygone era, with a repertoire consisting of the most beautiful and uplifting songs from the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s and originals in the same classic style.
The Orchestra, in their latest incarnation, features a talented troupe of musicians - drummer, double bassist, pianist, tenor saxophonist, clarinetist, trumpeter, all providing backing vocals, fronted by Benoit on rhythm guitar and lead vocals - and sometimes special guests female singers or flapper girls. The incredible 3 part horn section is their secret weapon and key to delivering a rich and exciting sound. Countless tunes have been sourced and arranged for the this 7 piece ensemble and new material is added on a regular basis to pleese their following. The Orchestra have surely become London's hottest live outfit for all those who revel in the nostalgia and elegance of a bygone era.
Benoit Viellefon & His Orchestra : "Swing a la mode"
(2011) Studio album 9 tracks
Benoit Viellefon & His Orchestra : "Mon amour"
(2014) Studio album 14 tracks
Benoit Viellefon & His Orchestra : "Out of dates"
(Release spring 2024) Live album 12 tracks
Benoit Viellefon & His Hot Club
Five piece Manouche & Gypsy swing band.
Benoit Viellefon's Hot Club is inspired by the swinging music that emerged from the infamous Parisian Cafes and nightclubs of the 1930s and 1940s. A unique ensemble that celebrates the popular songs played by artists like Django Reinhardt, Stéphane Grappelli, Louis Armstrong, and Sidney Bechet. With all the romanticism and nostalgia of the French repertoire and with a nod to the American jazz virtuosi who visited Paris, the Hot Club is the perfect mix of European finesse and the restless fervour of American hot jazz.
The Hot Club is made up of the finest musicians on the London jazz scene, all of them bringing their own character and experience, and contributing to the unique identity of the band. Fronted by Benoit himself on guitar and lead vocals, the timeless 2-guitar and double bass format is spiced up with a variety of instruments including violin, clarinet, trumpet and sometimes piano.
Consistently first choice at vintage festivals, high profile events across Europe, as well as boasting residencies in London’s most exclusive clubs and concert halls, their busy diary is testament to the public’s love for their music and the atmosphere they create. Most recently they have appeared on Hollywood films, national television and radio, and have played for the likes of Rowan Atkinson and Skunk Anansie.
You can get a chance to experience a trip back to the Paris St-Germain Jazz clubs of the 1930's at the Band's residencie hosted on sunday nights at Ronnie Scotts. You'll get to see the best swing dancers the country has to offer on this world famous dancefloor, the whole things looks like being straight out of a hollywood period film.
HOT CLUB DISCOGRAPHY:
Benoit Viellefon & His Hot Club : "Live at the Quecumbar"
(2012) Live album 16 tracks
Benoit Viellefon & His Hot Club : "Paris 19:36 - London 20:16"
(2019) Studio album 17 tracks
Benoit Viellefon & His Hot Club: "Caught on film" Live at the Oriole
(2022) Live album 10 tracks
Benoit Viellefon & His Hot Club: "London Paris"
(2023) Studio album 11 tracks
Benoit Viellefon & His Hot Club: "Paris London"
(2023) Studio album 11 tracks
Benoit Viellefon & His Trio
Nat King Cole meets Django Reinhardt...
Benoit Viellefon is now proud to present his new Trio. This truly international new outfit is comprised of Benoit with his signature French tinted vocals, playing a 1940's archtop guitar, UK finest pianists Alex Bryson and Liam Dunachie, Dave Obrien who also doubles on bass, and such brilliant bass players as Tom Wheatley and Dave Chamberlain.
Their music is a tribute to the timeless sound of The Nat King Cole Trio, Earl Hines, Fats Waller, small swing bands, French Chanson and early Latin American music. The all singing band brings a fresh and different take on the Classic American songbooks of the 1930s, 40s and 50s, bringing together the elegance, fun and driving rhythms of the era! This formidable trio can as easily entertain a small and intimatee or bigger audience, but only to bring the wildest out of them!
With residencies at the infamous Nightjar, Nightjar Carnaby, Oriole, The NED and Ronnie Scotts, the Benoit Viellefon Trio is quickly making it’s way to the core of the London jazz scene and soon will be releasing some new recordings!
Benoit Viellefon & His Trio: "Out with the wrong women"
(2017) Studio album 11 tracks
Benoit Viellefon & His Trio: "Benoit Vista Social Club"
(Release Summer 2024) Studio album 4/7 tracks