This is the Django Reinhardt who might have been, recorded only two months before his death from a stroke. With a French bop rhythm section in tow, he thoroughly adapts himself to the prevailing idiom while allowing himself plenty of gypsy-flavored runs and those unique harmonic turns of phrase. Reinhardt's sharp attacks, fast runs, vibrato, and bright tone on electric guitar delineate the links to Les Paul much more clearly than his acoustic guitar recordings do (explicitly so in one of Paul's famous vehicles, "Brazil"), and runs like those on "Confessin'" must have had an effect upon Chet Atkins. Clearly, Reinhardt would have been a leading, distinctive light of mainstream bop-grounded jazz had he lived and toured outside France. He could also play the blues convincingly on the cool, swinging, and droll "Blues for Ike" (for the newly inaugurated President Eisenhower?). Nevertheless, there is a strain of melancholy that runs through most of this collection, nowhere more so than in his heart-stopping closing rendition of his tune "Manoir de Mese Reves" (also known as "Django's Castle"); one could read a portent of impending mortality into this. Issued on 10" LPs in the 1950s, first on Mercury, then on Clef, mutilated in the '70s with overdubs by a group called Guitars Unlimited, and not issued on CD until the early '90s, these sessions have not been given their due among historians. But they are indispensable for a total understanding of his music.
AllMusic Review by Richard S. Ginell