This volume of the Classics Django Reinhardt chronology was expressly dedicated by the producers to the memory of Philippe Brun, a fine and forceful trumpeter whose primary inspiration was Louis Armstrong. Brun, who passed away in 1994, seems to have recorded regularly with Django and company. In addition to a fascinating version of Larry Clinton's "Whoa Babe" -- made famous among jazz fans after Lionel Hampton recorded it with Johnny Hodges and Cootie Williams in April 1937 -- Brun's two essays on the blues are honest and subtle, while his "College Stomp" is a fine example of Parisian big-band swing. The other noteworthy guest instrumentalist is violinist Michel Warlop, who appears either as a member of the Quintet of the Hot Club of France or as featured fiddler leading his own ensembles. Warlop's pleasantly looming "Taj Mahal" typifies a European's idyllic notion of a scene in "exotic" southern Asia. Anyone familiar with Fats Waller's monumental 1934 recording of Reginald Foresythe's "Serenade for a Wealthy Widow" will derive a new thrill from Warlop's equally feisty rendition. This disc also contains several unforgettable experiments by the Quintet. A marvelous "Minor Swing," with vocal exclamations and encouragements by Django, is perfectly amended by the famous "Viper's Dream." Everything recorded on December 14, 1937, has a pleasantly bracing dissonance about it, beginning with a hypnotic set of bolero variations played by a 13-piece band featuring flutist Maurice Cizeron and three violinists. But the real feature seems always to be Django Reinhardt, guitarist supreme. He is prominently featured on "St. Louis Blues" and "Bouncin' Around," accompanied only by a second guitar and string bass, and on a lovely series of duets with either bassist Louis Vola ("You Rascal You") or violinist/pianist Stéphane Grappelli.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf