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Django Reinhardt - Memorial (1953/2006)

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Django Reinhardt - Memorial (1953/2006)

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Disc 1 (Total Time - 58:57)

1. Topsy 	
2. September Song 	
3. Danse Nuptiale (Moppin’ The Bride) 	
4. Brazil 	
5. Anniversary Song 	
6. Swing 49 	
7. Django’s Blues 	
8. Mano 	
9. Blues Primitif 	
10. Gypsy With A Song 	
11. Danse Norvegienne 	
12. Blues for Barclay (Take 1) 
13. I’ll Never Smile Again 	
14. Confessin' 	
15. Night and Day 	
16. Fantaisie 	
17. Blues en Mineur 	
18. Manor de mes Rčves
19. Babik 
20. Swing 39 

Disc: 2 (Total Time - 58:02)	

1. Mélodie au Crépuscule 
2. Féerie
3. Dinette 
4. Minor Swing
5. Swing 40
6. Artillerie Lourde (Heavy Artillery)
7. Peche a la Mouche (Fly Fishing)
8. Stockholm 
9. Nuages 
10. Del Salle
11. Vendredi 13 
12. Sweet Chorus 	
13. Crépuscule 
14. Song d’Automne 	
15. Folie ŕ Amphion 	
16. Swing Guitars 	
17. Belleville 	Listen
18. Douce Ambiance (Sweet Atmosphere) 
19. Swing de Paris 	

Django Reinhardt: guitar; 
Hubert Rostaing, Gerard Leveque, Maurice Meunier: clarinet; 
Joseph Reinhardt, Eugene Vees: guitar; 
Emmanuel Soldieux: bass; 
Andre Jourdan: drums, 
Rex Stewart: cornet.

 

When Django Reinhardt switched from acoustic to electric guitar, his fans, feeling betrayed, called him "Judas." However, he later used this new instrument to record Blonde On Blonde, often considered one of the greatest rock records of all time.

Actually, that was Bob Dylan. But Reinhardt's electric period, which encompassed the last few years of his life, is certainly the black sheep of his catalog. Reinhardt was still in fine form and had even incorporated elements of bebop into his playing style. But many hold on to the earlier recordings of the Hot Club, with his sharp, rhythmic guitar alongside Stephane Grappelli, neither of which are present here. It's safe to say that of all the Djangophiles out there, not many have taken their cue from the late-forties Django to hone their attack.

However, this collection of recordings from 1947 is quite a treat. Like most Django Reinhardt material, this double-CD collection probably has some stuff that you already have, mixed in with some stuff that you don't. Whatever the case, most of this material is hard to come by; about half was available on the Peche a La Mouche collection (along with some other stuff that doesn't appear here). Whatever the reason, these recordings don't appear too often in circulation, and fans of Reinhardt will no doubt add a missing piece to their collection with this set.

But the music is the main draw, and Reinhardt doesn't disappoint. While still working with a sound that's similar to the recordings from the thirties, Reinhardt has added drums, taken away a guitar, and stuck with the clarinet as the other lead instrument. None of the other players are anything special, but Django's playing still crackles with exciting arpeggios and interesting rhythmic phrases, even if the sound of the electric is a bit jarring. Most of the selections are originals, many of them old chestnuts like "Swing 39, "Nuages, and "Stockholm, rendered with the same vim and vigor as the old days. Also of interest are a few tracks with Rex Stewart on cornet.

Django Reinhardt would die a few years later, still hailed as a guitar hero yet known primarily for the music of his past. For listeners who may be unfamiliar with his last recordings, this generously sized collection is definitely worth checking out. ---David Rickert, allaboutjazz.com

 

1947 was one of the most intriguing years for Django Reinhardt. Having survived World War II, and having had his first reunion with violinist Stéphane Grappelli and his only tour of the United States, the masterful guitarist began to seriously explore both the electric guitar and bebop. Not counting three sessions with Grappelli, Reinhardt recorded 65 selections (plus three alternate takes) during the five months covered by this two-CD set, Memorial. The music deserves to be reissued complete and in chronological order, but this is a strong sampling of 39 of the songs. Usually joined by either Hubert Rostaing, Gerard Leveque, or Maurice Meunier on clarinet plus guitar, bass, drums, and occasional piano, Reinhardt plays a few standards but mostly performs his own surprisingly boppish originals. At times the music is rhythmically awkward although there are some obscure and rewarding songs on this two-fer that are worth reviving. Reinhardt would sound much smoother by 1949, but these early bop efforts (which surprisingly include no Charlie Parker or Dizzy Gillespie songs) are intriguing and innovative in their own way; just do not expect the gypsy swing that Reinhardt performed in the '30s. A bonus is the two selections recorded by Reinhardt as a sideman with visiting cornetist Rex Stewart. Recommended. --- Scott Yanow, Rovi

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