Personnel: Django Reinhardt (guitar); Jim Hays (alto saxophone, clarinet); Joe Moser, Max Blanc, Robert Merchez, Robert Mavounzy (alto saxophone); Andre Louis, Charles Hary, Bernie Cavaliere, Bill Zickefoose (tenor saxophone); Ken Lowther (baritone saxophone); Alex Renard, Alex Caturegli, Maurice Moufflard, Herb Bass, Jerry Stephan, Lonnie Wilfong (trumpet); Rex Stewart (cornet); Maurice Gladieu, Pierre Remy, Bill Decke, Don Gardner, Shelton Heath, John Kirkpatrick (trombone); Barney Bigard, Alix Combelle, Hubert Rostaign (clarinet); Larry Mann (piano); Stephane Grappelli (violin); Joseph Reinhardt, Louis Gaste, Eugene Vees, Pierre Ferret, Jack Llewelin, Allan Hodgkiss, Challin Ferret (guitar); Emmanuel Sodieux, Louis Vola, Lucien Simoens, Eugene D'Hellemmes, Billy Taylor, Tony Rovira, Jean Storne, Bob Decker, Coleridge Goode, Fred Ermelin (bass); Pierre Fouad, Gaston Leonard, Bill Bethel (drums).
Recorded between May 4, 1936 and March 10, 1948. Includes liner notes by Dan Morgenstern.
This collection serves as a good introduction to the famous Gypsy guitarist, including as it does examples of the original Hot Club of France quintet with Stephane Grappelli, solo pieces, duets, trios, groups including reed or brass players, and two encounters between Django and ensembles of American musicians. The emphasis tends to be on Django's early Hot Club work, represented by five tunes on this CD, but several others here retain a Hot Club era feeling, particularly the duet with Quintet bassist Louis Vola and the Grappelli-less trio of "I'll See You In My Dreams."
The debate continues to rage over whether the postwar reunion of Reinhardt with Grappelli ever came close to their triumphs of the '30s; the last five cuts will allow you to judge for yourself. And if you're looking for the roots of the "New Acoustic Music" as perpetrated by David Grisman, Mark O'Connor et al, check out "Minor Swing." Like so many tunes that became jazz standards, it was played at a much more relaxed tempo in its original 1937 incarnation than it is usually performed today.