Release Date: 04/20/04
The French Masters together for the last time
By the time these recordings were made, Django had toured the US and made his last recordings with the original Hot Club de France. There was to be one last set of sessions with Stephane Grappelli - which forms the bulk of the first three albums of this collection. The sessions arose from an engagement at a Roman club - the Rupe Tarpea. Reinhardt and Grappelli took it when no other work was on offer. The pair had to face two realities. First, their wartime separation had led to new directions and collaborations. Second, their dwindling audiences wanted to hear their hits - making any evolution difficult. The first cut, Over The Rainbow perhaps defines the Django/Stephane relationship: Grappelli struts his stuff as a lead-in to Django's more agile pyrotechnics. And even as Django supplies rhythm support he can't resist interjections that show him to be the boss and the master of his instrument. Ironically, on the second track - Night And Day Grappelli is much more able than Django to extract pathos from a haunting tune. The stars are reworking some material. For example, Django had recorded a different version of Night And Day with trumpeter Rex Stewart in 1947. And the pre-war Hot Club had recorded Nagasaki, Minor Swing, Sweet Georgia Brown and Swing '39. But this is refinement, not repetition. And Manoir De Mes Reves here was the last time Reinhardt and Grappelli would record together. No dramatic bust-up. Possibly both men felt they had nowhere else to go. Django returned to Rome in 1950 with changes. Grappelli is replaced by alto player André Ekyan and Django is playing an electric guitar. The Italian backing musicians are more than competent, but this is entirely Ekyan and Reinhardt's show - pianist Schécroun is not planning anything attention grabbing, and the rhythm section.... supplies rhythm. There's some fine solo work here from Django and Ekyan who frequently revisit material. No harm in that. Anything by Django merits repeated listening.
|Label: Jsp Records|
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