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Django Reinhardt and the Singers With Jean Sablon

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Album Review

Although its overall time frame encompasses nearly a decade, Django Reinhardt and the Singers mainly illuminates the young guitarist's collaborations with nine different pop vocalists during the years 1933-1935. Most importantly it focuses upon Django's interactions with Jean Sablon (1906-1994), a singing movie star who hung out with Jean Cocteau, appeared with showy chanteuse Mistinguett, and gave Reinhardt his first big break by setting him up with a cabaret booking in 1933. Sablon, whose charming delivery places him in league with Al Bowlly, Charles Trenet, Bing Crosby, and Maurice Chevalier, utterly dominates this compilation. On the first two tracks, he is heard with Eliane de Creus backed by the Orchestre du Theatre Daunou, a quintet directed by Jef de Murel. Other ensembles in this set were led by saxophonist Andre Ekyan, violinist Michel Warlop, and bassist Louis Vola; listen also for the violin of Stéphane Grappelli. Reinhardt's supportive accompaniments are exquisite as ever, with pianist Garland Wilson joining him behind Sablon on "Continental" and "Un Baiser." The seven remaining vocalists round out the program splendidly. Motion picture actress Germaine Sablon performs solo and in duet with her brother Jean, Pierre Lord handles "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," and Le Petit Mirsha (who always sounded a bit like Minnie Mouse) chirps "Petit Homme, C'est L'heure de Faire Dodo." "Vivre Pour Toi" is sung by André Pasdoc and there are two brief airs sung in English by one Bruce Boyce. The last two tracks ease into the ‘40s with vocals by Charles Trenét and Nelly Kay. This collection compares and contrasts nicely with the Naxos Jazz Legends release Django Reinhardt with Vocals: Classic Recordings 1933-1941, and with the first two volumes of the Integrale Django Reinhardt as presented by Fremeaux and Associes.


Born: 23 January 1910 in Liberchies, Belgium

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s

Django Reinhardt was the first hugely influential jazz figure to emerge from Europe -- and he remains the most influential European to this day, with possible competition from Joe Zawinul, George Shearing, John McLaughlin, his old cohort Stephane Grappelli and a bare handful of others. A free-spirited gypsy, Reinhardt wasn't the most reliable person in the world, frequently wandering off into the countryside on a whim. Yet Reinhardt came up with a unique way of propelling the humble acoustic guitar...
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