Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
With His American Friends
Genres: World Music, Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
The Belgian-born Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt was the first great jazz musician to develop outside America, his staggering talent initially fueled by exposure to Louis Armstrong records. When American musicians visited... more »
The Belgian-born Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt was the first great jazz musician to develop outside America, his staggering talent initially fueled by exposure to Louis Armstrong records. When American musicians visited Paris in increasing numbers in the 1930s, Reinhardt was a natural choice as an accompanist. That's the role he's usually heard in on this remarkable three-CD set, providing rhythm guitar and sometimes exemplary solos to a host of visitors that includes Coleman Hawkins, Dicky Wells, and Rex Stewart. As a result, the set provides both a thorough portrait of Reinhardt's Paris interactions with the Americans and a view of the American musical experience--at least the best part of it--in Europe throughout the late 1930s. Most famous of the recordings here are likely those with Hawkins and Benny Carter. Hawkins spent several years in Europe and "Stardust" and "Crazy Rhythm" are important moments in the saxophonist's recordings. Even when Reinhardt is restricted to rhythm guitar, it's fascinating to hear the shift in the rhythmic structures of these pieces, his accents and sense of the beat being part of an original conception. The guitarist is heard to better effect, though, in groups with trombonist Dicky Wells and trumpeter Bill Coleman, particularly in the quintet that plays "Hangin' Around Boudon." Reinhardt also solos marvelously in a series of quartet recordings from 1939 with Ellingtonians, trumpeter Stewart and clarinetist Barney Bigard. These are first-rate American swing records with a difference, and the difference is Reinhardt's virtuosic fusion of American and European elements. Striking, too, are Reinhardt's very different recordings with the harmonica player Larry Adler and violinist Eddie South. The tracks with Adler, including "Body and Soul," are particularly strange, with Adler's harmonica added to the already unusual violin, three guitars, and bass lineup of the Hot Club of France. South is heard in duet with Reinhardt on "Eddie's Blues" and also in two- and three-violin configurations with Stephane Grappelli and the Hot Club. An interpretation of Bach by South, Grappelli, and Reinhardt is a highly successful exercise in Baroque swing. There are lost Americans here as well, musicians who never established significant reputations at home. Arthur Briggs's glorious lead trumpet sound adds a distinctive touch to both a Hawkins session and his own, while Freddy Taylor's voice lends an absolutely American accent to the Hot Club quintet's recordings of Stuff Smith's "I'se a Muggin'." The final tracks are 1945 big-band versions of four Reinhardt compositions. He's backed by His American Swing Band, otherwise known as the Air Transport Command Band, and it's a fitting conclusion to a fascinating collection. --Stuart Broomer
Not the classic Hot Club, but pretty damn close
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Always infectiously swinging, these Django recordings in a multitude of settings shows his ability to hang with the Americans all the way. Aching ballad intensity and hot solos abound."