Henri Crolla

Jazz in Paris: Notre Ami Django

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French guitarist Henri Crolla is heard with a variety of different groups in this compilation of recordings from the 1950s. Although the first ten tracks were recorded as a tribute to the late Django Reinhardt, Crolla stays in the background to allow violinist Stéphane Grappelli to dominate the brief rendition of "Swing 39." In "Minor Swing," Grappelli clarinetist Hubert Rostaing and alto saxophonist Andre Ekyan solo prior to the leader, with Crolla capturing some of the flavor of Reinhardt without copying him outright. But the ballad features without Grappelli are the most surprising tracks. Reinhardt's lovely but obscure "Anouman" showcases Ekyan with the rhythm section, minus Crolla, who evidently sat out this number. Crolla does justice to "Nuages" with a lively solo, complemented by Rostaing's clarinet. The final four selections come from an EP, with Crolla leading a sextet including Rostaing, trumpeter Roger Guerin, and pianist Martial Solal. The guitarist has a far more prominent role throughout this date and seems inspired by the material, which consists of standards of the swing era. This volume in Universal Music's extensive Jazz in Paris CD reissue series is definitely worth picking up.

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