While the name of the combo and the bio both suggest jazz standards of the 30s and 40s a la Django Reinhardt, this recording bears little resemblance to any of its Paris (almost) namesake. There is the Grappelli-like violin style of Nik Brown and some lovely jazz guitar from Andrew London, but Terry Crayford's piano and smooth vocals along with the wit and vocal edge of London's songs take this album into a very different terrain. In fact Andrew London's Middle Class White Boy Blues sort of sums it up. It's great! Polished performances all round, plenty of variety and a sense that they're not taking it all too seriously. Yes, it's jazz but not for the purists, it's way too accessible!
Like many fans, one of the things you can always love about the music of Warren Zevon has been his frequent refusal to play nice. While Zevon could write with tenderness and compassion when the spirit moved him, he was more likely to sound sarcastic, spiteful, venomous, and generally announce (loudly and with enthusiasm) that the emperor was naked given the appropriate subject, and he wasn't afraid to take on his friends and collaborators when so inclined.
Aside from the experimental side project Lumpy Gravy, Hot Rats was the first album Frank Zappa recorded as a solo artist sans the Mothers, though he continued to employ previous musical collaborators, most notably multi-instrumentalist Ian Underwood. Other than another side project – the doo wop tribute Cruising With Ruben and the Jets – Hot Rats was also the first time Zappa focused his efforts in one general area, namely jazz-rock. The result is a classic of the genre. Hot Rats' genius lies in the way it fuses the compositional sophistication of jazz with rock's down-and-dirty attitude – there's a real looseness and grit to the three lengthy jams, and a surprising, wry elegance to the three shorter, tightly arranged numbers (particularly the sumptuous "Peaches en Regalia").