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Classic Early Recordings in Chronogical Order
Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli
Classic Early Recordings in Chronogical Order
Genres: World Music, Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (26) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (26) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (24) - Disc #3
  •  Track Listings (24) - Disc #4
  •  Track Listings (24) - Disc #5

This wonderful five-disc box is an indispensable collection of prewar, prebop jazz that belongs in the company of your finest Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Benny Goodman sets. Technically, this isn't a...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli
Title: Classic Early Recordings in Chronogical Order
Members Wishing: 4
Total Copies: 0
Label: Jsp Records
Original Release Date: 5/16/2000
Release Date: 5/16/2000
Album Type: Box set, Original recording reissued
Genres: World Music, Jazz, Pop
Styles: Europe, Eastern Europe, Swing Jazz, European Jazz
Number of Discs: 5
SwapaCD Credits: 5
UPC: 788065900120

This wonderful five-disc box is an indispensable collection of prewar, prebop jazz that belongs in the company of your finest Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Benny Goodman sets. Technically, this isn't a true box set--it merely collects five single-disc compilations under one slipcase--but it is infinitely rewarding nonetheless. Disheartened by what he thought were sonically subpar Reinhardt collections, Ted Kendall undertook an ambitious mission to find the best original sources for this classic material and then meticulously remastered them. He wisely opted to leave in some of the surface noise to maintain the clarity and integrity of the music. And what glorious, jubilant music it is! Dating to the very first Quintet of the Hot Club of France sessions in September 1934 (before they'd even established that moniker), the collection includes all the landmark recordings Reinhardt made for Ultraphone, Decca (its English and French labels), and HMV up through the Quintet's 1939 breakup on the eve of World War II. Reinhardt's guitar work is spirited and adventurous throughout--lightning-quick runs, insistent rhythm work, and hybrid "riffs" that seem to split the difference. Nearly all the cuts feature the elegant but vivacious violin work of his most famous foil, Stephane Grappelli, who certainly deserves co-billing on the set. The way the two feed off each other's energy is magical. Despite their well-documented personality clashes, the twosome remains perhaps the most synergistic in jazz history, constantly engaging in their incredible cat-and-mouse games. Often overlooked are the songwriting talents of the two musicians, who contributed several standards to the jazz canon. Though mostly focused on the Quintet recordings, the set detours for such oddities as a pair of solo Reinhardt cuts from 1937 and collaborations with Coleman Hawkins. Simply delightful from beginning to end. --Marc Greilsamer

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CD Reviews

. . . Buy it!
M. Allen Greenbaum | California | 05/26/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Even if this weren't such a great deal (and it is!), this belongs on every jazz collector's shelf. Simply the best overview of Django's oeuvre, with astonishing, soaring, magical (daring even!) virtuosity by the guitar master and his counterpart on the violin, Stephan Grappelly.Considering the price, and that no one had yet reviewed it here, I was skeptical about the quality--but the sound is fine! There was a little too much chug-chugging accompaniment on the first CD, but this was apparently the style (listen to some early Ellington), and the rhythm section loosens up more later.It's true that there is no bound booklet as we've come to expect from box sets, but I was pleased to see informative liner notes and credits with each CD. Much of the music is taken directly from the 78s of such noted archivists as Robert Parker and John R. T. Davies. Ted Kendall (the remastering engineer and force behind this compilation) notes that he "removed as much extraneous noise as possible without cutting into the music but have otherwise attempted no 'enhancement' of the sound--it would only obstruct the music anyway." Good decision!Whether you've been a longtime fan or discovered Django Reinhardt through Woody Allen's "Sweet and Lowdown," this is an immensely enjoyable collection. Buy it soon!"
Django never sounded so great!
Ryan Harvey | Los Angeles, CA USA | 05/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This British label JSP is one incredible outfit: they put out the best jazz in comprehensive sets with terrific sound and at prices that make you wonder if there might be something wrong with them. Let me assure you, there's nothing wrong with this 5-CD set of early recordings from swing guitarist Django Reinhardt. In fact, everything is right -- I have heard many CDs of Reinhardt's music from this period, and they all sound as if they were being played through mud compared to the sound on these discs. Listening to them felt like discovering Django's incredible sound for first time. Sound engineer Ted Kendall deserves a medal for the work he did here. If you love Django, you MUST buy these discs. If you're just discovering him or are curious about him, the low price should be enough to pull you in. Take the chance!Django Reinhardt was one of the most stunning soloists in jazz history, on any instrument. He swung so hard that most other musicians couldn't keep up with him. The only man who could really swing right along with Django was his frequent partner, violinist Stepahne Grapelli. Together they formed the core of the The Quintette of the Hot Club of France, which performs most of the recordings on these five CDs. But there are also selections of Django playing solo, Django and Grapelli performing duets, and some interesting "guest star" recordings with saxophone players Coleman Hawkins and Alix Combille.There's a wealth of genius spread over these five discs. Disc One covers 1934-35, when the Quintette was born and started immediately producing classics like "Tiger Rag," "I Saw Stars," "Blue Drag" (one of Reinhardt's great originals), and "Djangology." There are a few performances with an underwhelming vocalist, and some tracks with a larger group that includes trumpets and trombones (the recording of "Smoke Rings" is especially nice.) Disc Two jumps out of chronological order and collects the 1938 and 1939 recordings for Decca in London. Django goes solo on a few tracks here, and the Quintette tears it up on "Honeysuckle Rose" and "Daphne" (another Reinhardt-Grapelli original classic). One of the delights I had never heard before is a version of the popular American song "The Flat Foot Floogee."Disc Three switches over to the 1938-39 Decca recordings from Paris. This is the weakest disc, partially because so many of the tracks have multiple takes so there is less variety, and partially because the sound sources available are poor. (The engineer does the best job possible on them, however.) We do get some great tracks, like "Tea for Two" (done three times!) and "Time on My Hands." Disc Four leaps backs in time to the Decca and HMV recordings from 1935 to 1937. The recordings made with Coleman Hawkins are sensational: "Blue Moon," "Avalon," and "What a Difference a Day Made." The sound quality here is a revelation. There are also tracks with a superb singer, Freddy Taylor, who meshes well with the Quintette. Other Django performance classics on this dics are "I Got Rhythm," "Swing Guitars," and "Limehouse Blues."The last disc is the strongest, collecting HMV sessions from 1937 (all done in one week!) and a bizarre session in which Django joins Garnet Clark's Hot Club's Four. The HMV pieces are amongst Django's best: "You're Driving Me Crazy," "Ain't Misbehaving," "The Sheik of Araby." One of the real stunners is "Mystery Pacific," where Django imitates a train with his guitar in a solo that must have caused his fingers to catch fire! Django also goes solo on two tracks, giving the listener another chance to listen carefully to his technique.It's impossible to go wrong with this set. For this low price, you get hours of the best of Django Reinhardt and the Quintette, all sounding better than ever before. Django's music will live forever, regardless of sound quality, but it's wonderful to finally have all of his music collected together and treated with the sonic dignity that it deserves. If you like what you hear (and you will), purchase the follow-up JSP set, "Paris and London," which continues Django Reinhardt through 1948."
David Bradley | Sterling, VA USA | 01/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"For someone like me who loves every note Django Reinhardt ever played this 5-CD collection and another 4-CD set also available on, "Django Reinhardt Volume 2: Paris & London 1937-1948," are the Holy Grail. Between the two sets I can load up the CD player with 9 discs and listen to this most unbelievable of all guitar players show off for hours at a time.There is more swing, more fun, and more incredible guitar playing on these discs than you'll ever hear anywhere else. This set holds a lead over "Volume Two" because of the inclusion of the amazing fifth CD, where you will find great versions of "You're Driving Me Crazy" and "Tears," the heavenly "Solitude," and what I consider the greatest Reinhardt recording of all, "Liebestraum No. 3." In a 9-CD set covering decades of recordings, "Liebestraum No. 3" stands out as the absolute masterpiece of an absolute master.Even though they contain no lengthy linear notes, 'free booklets,' posters, etc., these are, without a doubt, the greatest multi-disc box sets I have ever heard."