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Djangology

Le Quintette du Hot Club de France
(full track list at bottom of review)

rec. 1934-1946, Paris, London. ADD. mono

LIVING ERA CD AJS 2016 [77.51 + 78.45]

 

 

 

 

This is a rather wonderful two-disc set of jazz from Grappelli, Reinhardt and their band.

The stories of the two main musicians featured read something like fairy tales, lending an air of magic to the whole scenario. Django Reinhardt (1910-1953) was a gypsy guitarist - whom Duke Ellington called "Europe’s pre-eminent jazz instrumentalist of all time". Born in Belgium, the son of an acrobat and a clown, he taught himself banjo-guitar - an instrument given to him when he was 12 - and swiftly became a phenomenal player. Disaster struck at the age of 18, when he was caught in a fire and his hands were maimed. Not to be defeated, he devised a new technique for playing despite the fact that he could barely use some of his fingers.

Stéphane Grappelli (1908-1997), meanwhile, was born in Paris to an impoverished Italian – his mother died when he was young. He was also given his instrument at the age of 12 and worked his way up, playing in cinema pits and busking, until he eventually got a place in the Paris Conservatoire to study harmony.

The music on this disc is therefore an amazing blend of carefree and unrestrained gypsy flair, with Reinhardt giving little regard to the strictures and rules of music, and a more formal approach from classically trained Grappelli. Here, the two are joined by guitarists Pierre "Baro" Feet, Roger Chaput and Django’s brother Joseph, with Louis Vola on double-bass. They are joined by Freddy Taylor as the vocalist in After You’ve Gone and Shine.

The first appearance of the quintet was in December 1934 at a "Hot Club de France" concert, held at the Ecole Normale Jazz by the society that the music critic Hughes Panassie had established for such concerts. This was revolutionary music – suave yet thrilling, and the quintet immediately became extremely popular. Although the group members went their own ways a little during the war, Grappelli and Reinhardt got back together for some more concerts and recordings afterwards, making their final recordings in 1949.

The disc includes a variety of works by a range of composers from Fats Waller, and Duke Ellington through to Gershwin and Cole Porter. It includes both the unfamiliar and new works by Grappelli and Reinhardt, as well as old favourites, such as Limehouse Blues, Charleston, You’re driving me crazy, I've got rhythm, and Ain't Misbehavin’. It also features (as the first track) Dinah – the first recording they made together, Djangology, Reinhardt’s own composition that became the quintet’s signature tune. We also hear the incredible Mystery Pacific, with its brilliant opening depiction of a steam train. The disc concludes, appropriately enough, with Reinhardt’s best-loved composition, Nuage, here beautifully played.

The performances in general are pretty amazing. Although the sound is slightly harsh, it doesn’t really detract too much, and we have a nice warm tone from Grappelli, and some pleasingly chunky chords from the quintet. The band has a stunning sense of rhythm, and the performances include some very virtuosic playing. Perhaps the loveliest touch is the fact that the force of personalities come through, with an urbane note to Grappelli’s playing and some wildness from Reinhardt.

Em Marshall

A stunning blend of rhythm, urbanity and wildness ... see Full Review

FULL TRACK-LIST

CD 1

Harry AKST

Dinah (1925) [2:35]

Nick La ROCCA, Edwin B. EDWARDS, Tony SPARGO, Larry SHIELDS

Tiger Rag (1917) [2:32]
George GERSHWIN

Oh, Lady, Be Good! (1924) [2:51]
Maurice SIGLER, Al GOODHART, Al HOFFMAN

I Saw Stars (1934) [2:18]
Doc DAUGHERTY, Ellis REYNOLDS

I'm Confessin' (1930) [2:54]
Josef MYROV

Blue Drag (1932) [2:52]
Abner SILVER

Chasing Shadows (1935) [2:55]
Walter DONALDSON

I've Had My Moments (1934) [2:57]
Django REINHARDT, Stephane GRAPPELLI

Djangology (1935) [2:55]
W.C. HANDY

St. Louis blues (1914) [3:25]

George GERSHWIN

I Got Rhythm (1930) [2:55]

Spencer WILLIAMS, Jack PALMER

I've Found A New Baby (1926) [3:01]

Will HUDSON

Moonglow (1934) [2:58]

Django REINHARDT, Stephane GRAPPELLI

Oriental Shuffle (1936) [2:37]
Turner LAYTON, Henry CREAMER

After You've Gone (1918) [3:05]

Philip BRAHAM

Limehouse Blues (1921) [2:43]

Django REINHARDT, Stephane GRAPPELLI

Swing Guitars (1936) [2:24]

Ford DABNEY, Lew BROWN, Cecil MACK

Shine (1924) [2:54]

Hoagy CARMICHAEL

In The Still Of The Night (1932) [3:04]

Django REINHARDT, Stephane GRAPPELLI

Sweet Chorus (1936) [2:41]

Jimmy McHUGH

Exactly Like You (1929) [2:28]

James P. JOHNSON, Cecil MACK

The Charleston (1923) [2:49]

Walter DONALDSON

You're Driving Me Crazy (1930) [2:51]

Django REINHARDT, Stephane GRAPPELLI

Tears (1937) [2:33]

Duke ELLINGTON

Solitude (1934) [3:09]

Fats WALLER, Harry BROOKS

Ain't Misbehavin' (1929) [2:53]

Art HICKMAN

Rose Room (1917) [2:43]

Le Quintette du Hot Club de France: Stephane Grappelli (violin); Django Reinhardt, Joseph Reinhardt, Roger Chaput (1 -6) Pierre "Baro" Ferret (7-9) (guitars); Louis Vola (double-bass)

Recorded in Paris, 28th December 1934 (1 – 4); Paris, 6th March 1935 (5); Paris, late April 1935 (6); Paris, 11th September 1935 (7 – 9).

Stephane Grappelly and his Hot Four: Stephane Grappelli (violin); Django Reinhardt, Joseph Reinhardt, Pierre "Baro" Ferret (guitars); Louis Vola (10, 11),Tony Rovira (12,13) (double-bass)

Recorded in Paris, 30th September 1935 (10); Paris, 11th October 1935 (11); Paris, 21st October 1935 (12,13).

Le Quintette du Hot Club de France.

Stephane Grappelli (violin); Django Reinhardt, Joseph Reinhardt, Pierre "Baro" Ferret (guitars); Lucien Simoens (double-bass); Freddy Taylor (vocals) (15, 18).

Recorded in Paris, 4th May 1936 (14 – 16); Paris, 15th October 1936 (17 – 20).

Le Quintette du Hot Club de France:

Stephane Grappelli (violin); Django Reinhardt, Pierre "Baro" Ferret, Marcel Blanchi –(guitars); Louis Vola (double-bass)

Recorded in Paris, 21st April 1937 (21 – 25); Paris, 22nd April 1937 (26, 27).

CD 2

Johnny GREEN

Body And Soul (1930) [3:25]
Robert KATSCHER

When Day Is Done (1926) [3:09]

A. HARRINGTON GIBBS

Runnin' wild! (1922) [2:54]

Fred FISHER

Chicago (That Toddlin' Town) (1922) [3:25]

Django REINHARDT, Stephane GRAPPELLI

Mystery Pacific (1937) [2:19]

Ted SNYDER

The Sheik Of Araby (1921) [3:02]

Django REINHARDT, Stephane GRAPPELLI

Minor Swing (1937) [3:14]

Fats WALLER

Honeysuckle Rose (1929) [2:53]

Maceo PINKARD, Ben BERNIE, Kenneth CASEY

Sweet Georgia Brown (1925) [3:08]

Cole PORTER

Night And Day (1932) [2:42]

Django REINHARDT, Stephane GRAPPELLI

My Sweet (1938) [2:53]

Django REINHARDT, Stephane GRAPPELLI

Souvenirs (1938) [2:43]

Django REINHARDT, Stephane GRAPPELLI

Daphne (1937) [3:10]

Django REINHARDT, Stephane GRAPPELLI

Stompin'at Decca (1938) [2:31]

Django REINHARDT, Stephane GRAPPELLI

Billets Doux (Love Letters) (1938) [2:50]

Django REINHARDT, Stephane GRAPPELLI

Swing From Paris (1938) [2:25]

Maceo PINKARD, William TRACEY, Doris TAUBER

Them There Eyes (1930) [2:58]

Django REINHARDT, Stephane GRAPPELLI

Appel Direct (Direct Call) (1938) [3:02]

Django REINHARDT, Stephane GRAPPELLI

Swing '39 (1939) [3:15]

Richard A. WHITING

The Japanese Sandman (1920) [2:42]

Walter DONALDSON

I Wonder Where My Baby is Tonight? (1925) [3:01]

Johnny GREEN

Out Of Nowhere (1931) [3:14]

Django REINHARDT, Stephane GRAPPELLI

H.C.Q. Strut (1939) [2:54]

Django REINHARDT

Love's Melody (Melodie au crepuscule)(1946) [3:08]
Django REINHARDT

Belleville (1942) [2:57]

Django REINHARDT

Nuages (Clouds) It's The Bluest Kind Of Blues (1940) [3:16]

Le Quintette du Hot Club de France: Stephane Grappelli (violin); Django Reinhardt, Pierre "Baro" Ferret, Marcel Bianchi (guitars); Louis Vola (double-bass) (1 – 6)

Recorded in Paris, 22nd April 1937 (1,2); Paris, 26th April 1937 (3 – 5); Paris, 27th April 1937 (6)

Le Quintette du Hot Club de France: Stephane Grappelli (violin); Django Reinhardt, Eugene Vees, Joseph Reinhardt (7) Roger Chaput (8-14) (guitars); Louis Vola (double-bass)

Recorded in Paris, 25th November 1937 (7); London, 31st January 1938 (8 – 14)

Le Quintette du Hot Club de France: Stephane Grappelli (violin); Django Reinhardt, Joseph Reinhardt, Eugene Vees (guitars); Roger "Toto" Grasset (double-bass)

Recorded in Paris, 14th June 1938 (15 – 18)

Le Quintette du Hot Club de France: Stephane Grappelli (violin); Django Reinhardt, Joseph Reinhardt, Pierre "Baro" Ferret (guitars); Emmanuel Soudieux (double-bass)

Recorded in Paris, 21st March 1939 (19 – 21)

Duo: Stephane Grappelli (violin), Django Reinhardt (guitar)

Recorded in Paris, 30th June 1939 (22)

Le Quintette du Hot Club de France: Stephane Grappelli (violin); Django Reinhardt, Joseph Reinhardt, Eugene Vees (guitars); Emmanuel Soudieux (double-bass)

Recorded in London, 25th August 1939 (23)

Quintet: Stephane Grappelli (violin); Django Reinhardt, Jack Llewellyn, Allan Hodgkiss (guitars); Coleridge Goode (double-bass)

Recorded in London, 1st February 1946 (24 – 26)

 

 

 



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