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Swing Guitars - 1936-1937

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Album Review

Sandwiched chronologically between Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, Vol. 3 of Naxos' ongoing Django Reinhardt reissue series settles into a period where the Quintette du Hot Club de France was recording for HMV (the previous two volumes dealt with Decca and Ultraphone issues). The collection catches guitarist Django, violinist Stephane Grappelli, and their sidekicks Joseph Reinhardt, Pierre Faret, or Marcel Bianchi on rhythm guitars and Louis Vola or Lucien Simoens on bass in absolutely prime form; there's not a bum track in the satchel. Every selection is bursting with solo and harmonic creativity, and whether at slow, middle, or fast tempos, everything swings, madly at times. Particularly worth shouting about is Django's two-chorus burst on "You're Driving Me Crazy" — just a thing of swinging wonder, with a wild upward strummed glissando to close — and he comes back during Grappelli's solo with even harder, driving rhythm. American singer Freddy Taylor appears on five tracks; his vocals on "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" and "Georgia on My Mind" are drenched in Satchmo's scat style, while the latter offers some unexpected key modulations at the close. As before, David Lemmick's excellent transfers preserve much of the warmth and bass of the original pressings, along with some of the surface noise — which other reissues have filtered out — and here, for the first time in this series, Naxos does listeners a big favor by presenting the sessions in proper chronological order. If you're starting a Hot Club Quintette library, you could easily begin with this low-price sample from the heart of their heyday. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi


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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