The union of guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grapelli in 1934 remains one of the most fruitful in all of jazz. The chemistry between the two was such that they exchanged solos back and forth like two people finishing each other's sentences. Between 1934 and 1939, they held court at the Paris after-hours Hot Club of France and recorded with a number of labels. Along with Django and Grappelli, the quintet consisted of a bassist and two rhythm guitarists, including Reinhardt's brother Joseph, providing a solid yet supple foundation for the duo's joyous melodic excursions.
These 16 songs were recorded during the quintet's heyday--from 1935 through 1938. The following year, the outbreak of war caused the group to split up. Particularly divine is the rendition of Fats Waller's "Honeysuckle Rose", and their furious take on "Them There Eyes." They also shine in more intimate moments, as when they play without other accompaniment, Grappelli on piano, on Irving Berlin's "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm." Django plays the first verse with utter tenderness; then the song jumps into double time and he decorates it with furious runs.