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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 14 October 2011
Can there be a more instantly recognisable sound in all popular music than this?
The scurrying, worryingly supernatural guitar of Django Reinhardt coupled with the switchback swoonings of Stephane Grappelli`s fiddle. So redolent too of a particular time and place, Paris in the `30s. (For anyone reading this after I`m dead and gone, I mean the 1930s.)
That these two master musicians should have found each other is cause for eternal gratitude and delight - the gods themselves must have been over the moon - such is the absolute felicity of their interplay on these precious tracks.
More compilations of this group exist than you can shake a stick at. This is a perfectly fine single-CD collection, in good sound, with clear listings and brief but sensible sleevenotes. You get 22 tracks lasting 66 minutes. Picking out favourite numbers is pointless, every one is a gem.
It`s interesting to hear, on Limehouse Blues, the impressionistic way Django creates
a mood with his fast strumming and tremulous holding of notes. At times, for example on the gorgeous Moonglow, his guitar sounds like a zither - suddenly we`re in Vienna, with Orson Welles lurking in a doorway...
Listen too to the rapt, heart-stopping way he bends notes on Night And Day.
One thing that makes this music so timeless is the sense of on-the-spot spontaneity each track exudes, though the arrangements must have been agreed on and worked till they glowed with brilliance. But there`s always room to breathe, however frenetic some of the tunes are.
If you want a one-CD taster of this Quintet, this one is as good as any I`ve heard, and better than many on cheap labels with indifferent sound.
Whether heard as background music in a cafe, played at home in private, or caught en passant from someone`s radio, the music these guys made is imperishable, inevitable, indispensable.
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on 29 September 2012
I defy anyone to listen to this wonderful collection without tapping their feet. Django's guitar riffs sore above the driving rhythm guitar with Stephane's swinging violin threading its way in,out and above it all recreate the dynamic atmosphere of the Hot Club de France. An album that will delight lovers of pure swing and its swingest and should be a vital part of any collection of classic jazz.
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on 26 August 2015
Great purchase - thank you very much!
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