Django Reinhardt – The Essential Django Reinhardt (2011)

Django Reinhardt - The Essential (2011)
Artist: Django Reinhardt
Album: The Essential Django Reinhardt
Genre: Swing, Gypsy
Origin: Belgium / France
Released: 2011
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps
Tracklist:
CD 1:
Minor Swing [1949] [02:39]
Beyond the Sea (La Mer) [1949] [04:20]
The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise [1949] [02:49]
Django Castle (Le Manoir de Mes Reves) [1950] [03:20]
Dream of You [1950] [02:59]
Mйnilmontant [1949] [03:05]
It’s Only a Paper Moon [1949] [02:50]
I Saw Stars [1949] [03:35]
Nuages [1950] [04:05]
Swing Guitars [1949] [02:52]
All the Things You Are [1949] [02:53]
A Tisket a Tasket [1950] [03:06]
September Song [1950] [02:56]
Heavy Artillery (Artillerie Lourde) [1949] [03:42]
Improvisation on Tchaikowsky’s ‘Pathйtique’ Andante [1949] [03:41]
Djangology [1949] [02:47]
Ou Es-Tu Mon Amour? (Where Are You My Love?) [1949] [03:23]
Russian Songs Medley [1950] [03:33]

CD 2:
Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli / Daphne [02:26]
Frank Signorelli – Kaher & Matty Malneck / I’ll Never Be the Same [04:00]
Irving Berlin / Marie [02:52]
Bobby Plater – Edward Johnson – Tiny Bradshaw & Knight / Jersey Bounce [03:02]
Harry Barris – Gordon Clifford & Crosby / I Surrender Dear [03:42]
Vincent Youmans – Clifford Grey & Leo Robin / Halleluyah [03:07]
Al Jolson & Saul Chaplin / Anniversary Song [04:23]
Henry Creamer & Turner Layton / After You’ve Gone [03:02]
Swing 42 [02:27]
Ted Koehler & Harold Arlen / Stormy Weather [04:11]
Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli / Brick Top [03:46]
Roger ‘Ram’ Ramirez – Jimmy Davis & Jimmy Sherman / Lover Man (Oh, Where Can … [03:12]
Ira Gershwin & George Gershwin / I Got Rhythm [02:44]
Fats Waller & Andy Razaf / Honeysuckle Rose [04:02]
W. C. Handy / Saint-Louis Blues [04:06]
Duke Ellington – Irving Mills & Mitchell Parish / Sophisticated Lady [04:04]
Shelton Brooks / Darktown Strutter’s Ball [02:50]
Clarence Williams & Spencer Williams / Royal Garden Blues [02:38]

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Considering that Django Reinhardt recorded prolifically in the quarter-century between 1928 and 1953, it might a bit presumptuous to title this collection The Essential Django Reinhardt. For this two-CD, 36-track anthology is drawn entirely from recordings made in Rome in 1949 and 1950. That’s a relatively narrow time frame of work from a musician acknowledged as one of the masters of jazz guitar, and indeed one of the most influential guitarists of all time. It’s fair enough to concede that this certainly comprises some of the essential recordings he laid down, however, and that listened to with or without comparison to his entire oeuvre, they’re very good. About two-thirds of them were cut in January and February 1949 as part of the quintet also featuring his famed collaborator Stéphane Grappelli on violin. The others were made in April and May of 1950 as part of an entirely different, violin-less quintet, André Ekyan playing alto sax and clarinet, two instruments not heard on the 1949 tracks. Regardless of the context, Reinhardt’s playing is excellent and the bands sympathetic, the guitarist showing himself capable of adapting to changing times in jazz with arrangements that swing, but in a more modern way than his earlier efforts. A good number of his own compositions (some written with Grappelli) are included, along with some popular standards and jazz classics by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, and Fats Waller. Some material goes beyond these boundaries, such as a “Russian Songs Medley,” an improvisation on a Tchaikovsky piece, and W.C. Handy’s “St. Louis Blues.” Reinhardt actually cut about three times as much as material from these sessions, but for those who just want a manageable slice of quality work from the period, it’s a fine compilation. This reissue, incidentally, was originally produced in 1983, and previously released as The Indispensable Django Reinhardt (1949-1950).
Review by Richie Unterberger

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