A year after its founding in 1953, the classical Angel label started a short-lived jazz series on 10" LPs devoted to performers from Europe and Australia. This one (and a sequel, Django's Guitar) became well and away the most collectable items on the series, drawing from EMI's large Reinhardt stockpile to form neat little eight-selection packages. The LP picks up the thread with "My Serenade" -- featuring the famous Hot Club Quintette -- then moves on to Django's first group after the Quintette's breakup, where the addition of drums gives "Dinette" an extra lift and the weirdly creative "Rythme Futur" is based on whole-tone scales. Reinhardt expands to a sextet on "Nuages" and "Oiseaux des Iles" with the addition of clarinetist/tenor player Alix Combelle; the latter track has an unusual locomotive-like forward drive. Then the record skips over to the reunions with Stephane Grappelli after the war, reinstating the original all-string Hot Club Quintette instrumentation on "Festival 48," "Ol' Man River," and "Diminushing." Everywhere, Django's dazzling solos and mischievous interjections and quotes cut cleanly through the decades, aided by excellent early-LP transfers.
AllMusic Review by Richard S. Ginell