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The Chronological Django Reinhardt: 1947, Vol. 2

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Album Review

The combination of an early modern jazz clarinet and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France creates a special kind of chemistry that occurs periodically throughout Django Reinhardt's recorded works. This volume in the Classics Reinhardt chronology contains an unusually high concentration of clarinetists, most notably the great Hubert Rostaing. Given his warm, personable timbre and unusual dexterity, it is surprising that more jazz lovers are not aware of this remarkable musician. The previous Django Reinhardt installment in the Classics chronology, 1947, contained no less than 13 tracks documenting the Rostaing/Reinhardt collaboration. 1947, Vol. 2 (Classics 1046) forks over 15 more examples of their best work together, along with two tracks featuring clarinetist Maurice Meunier and one greasy strut — "Douce Ambiance" — involving clarinetist Gerard Leveque. Reinhardt, heard playing electric guitar on all but three of the 20 tracks, sounds as lyrical and inventive as ever. "Brazil," unlike most other peoples' renditions, uses hardly any percussion, zeroing in on the melody first and foremost. It is interesting to hear Reinhardt's interpretation of "Topsy," a jam structure invented by Count Basie and Eddie Durham, who pioneered the newfangled electrified guitar back in 1938. "Gypsy With a Song" is Reinhardt's teasing response to Duke Ellington's beautiful composition "Gypsy Without a Song." The disc finishes off with two fine selections from a Quintet session involving Stéphane Grappelli. The rest of the material recorded on that date — November 14, 1947 — can be found on Classics 1317, which chronicles the years 1947-1951.


Born: January 23, 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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