Django Reinhardt's legacy of great jazz records is so vast that some may feel intimidated by the sheer volume of material. Where to begin? What's the best? Did he ever make "bad" recordings? All of these questions quickly dissipate when the music itself starts to roll. Most of Django's music is delightful, which explains his continued popularity many years after his untimely death. It just so happens that this volume in the Reinhardt chronology is an excellent place to dive in. The year 1937 was a great one for jazz, both in the U.S. and in Europe, where this music was flourishing in a collective atmosphere of ethnic diversity not unlike that which had fueled its birth and development in the social cauldrons of Chicago, New Orleans, St. Louis, Kansas City and New York. The Parisian jazz scene positively thrived during the 1930s, with the Quintet of the Hot Club of France quickly establishing itself as the definitive Continental swing unit. By April of 1937 this group had been making records together for more than two years. Their style had fully jelled into an exacting formula suitable for interpreting jazz standards and pop songs with impeccable ease. Within a few days 20 outstanding performances were waxed, and every single side is astonishing in its freshness and lyrical invention. In addition to defining the sound of the Quintet in its prime, this volume includes two unaccompanied guitar solos -- the stunningly virtuosic "Parfum" is one of Django's all-time greatest recorded achievements -- and a pair of guitar/alto saxophone duets featuring the great Andre Ekyan.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf