The dozen recordings on this CD (a straight reissue of an earlier Prestige LP) are not Django Reinhardt's very first recordings, nor are these all of the early selections by the Quintet of the Hot Club of France. Actually included are 11 of the classic string group's first 20 numbers, plus a version of "The Sheik of Araby" from a date led by Alix Combelle (doubling on clarinet and tenor). But although this CD is not for completists, there are many memorable and highly enjoyable performances. Guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli (backed by two rhythm guitars and bassist Louis Vola) made for a perfect team from the start, as can be heard on such numbers as "Tiger Rag," "Dinah" "Avalon" and even "Swanee River." A four-piece brass section (including trumpeter soloist Arthur Briggs) joins the quintet on "Avalon" and "Smoke Rings." An excellent introduction to early Reinhardt and Grappelli.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow