on August 31, 2001
Wow. I am stunned. I am listening to this album as I speak and I feel as if I have been sheltered all my life. How many artists has this guy influenced? I can hear shades of groups as diverse as the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Tones on Tale and even the Rolling Stones. Ray Bryant was so moved by Django he named a song after him.
While this particular album hops around a bit, it all blends nicely together. The older tracks are nicely mastered, and hey...who doesn't appreciated the crackle of a little static?
If I was going to go out on a limb, I would suggest that Django was way ahead of his time. Listening to the interplay of melody and rythm, I'd say this guy was 15 years early, and could easily have played a role in the birth of modern jazz...though I guess he really did anyway.
So. Jazz guitar. This is where it all started. I guess it could be argued that some of the ragtime guitarists paved the road here, but I don't see it.
This is a fun and historically significant collection that will probably get a lot of play time.
on August 24, 2001
This is an excellent sampling of recordings by Django Reinhardt. The tracks vary quite a bit in sound quality since they were taken from various sessions between 1938 and 1953 and also due to the quality of the sources. Nuages is the first track probably only because it's one of the most famous Django tunes, but the quality of the audio is not as good as many other tracks (so don't be put off by it). Even if the original sound engineers were not capturing the full tone of Django's guitar, you can hear all the notes he played! To say this man was a pioneer in jazz guitar seems an understatement. His playing is at times lightning quick, and yet always very lyrical and moving. But not only do you get Django, you also get Stephane Grappelli on most songs. Grappelli's violin adds much depth to these tunes, he is an astonishing player in his own right. This collection showcases the interplay between Reinhardt and Grappelli very nicely. As if that weren't enough, tracks 14 and 15 feature Hubert Rostaing on clarinet and add still more depth to an excellent CD. The booklet includes the personnel and recording dates for every track and some nice "liner notes".
on October 4, 2001
Although Django recorded well over 500 tracks in his 20 year career, this release is a pretty good overview even though it ignores the first few years of his career. Aside from the stunning, at times almost unbearable, beauty standard on any Django release, this album has some rare tracks, including Vous Et Moi, which features Django on VIOLIN. This track alone makes this CD a must and is extremely rare. Django's solo on Love's Melody is an example of one of those pieces of auditory magic which compels the listener to rewind over and over again in blissful disbelief. Furthermore, the last three tracks offer a rare glimpse into Django's experimentation with the electric guitar and bebop. But be warned: if you buy this, you will very likely become obsessed with finding more of this genius' work and may neglect the other music in your library for a while.