Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Django Reinhardt

  • Django Reinhardt [Koch International, 1995] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Django Reinhardt [Koch International, 1995]
The label is per the late, lamented CDNow, which listed this 66th of 68 Reinhardt albums for $8.49; the copy I bought my wife for Christmas a few years ago says Koch Präsent. It has a purple-and-green cover, track listings indicating years, times, and composers but not personnel, and liner notes comprising two blank squares of paper. So it goes with the Roma guitarist, whose discography is as impenetrable as any in jazz. Take for instance Bluebird's high-profile 2002 Djangology, which proves a warmed-up remaster of Bluebird's 1990 Djangology 49 in different order with prettier packaging for a few dollars more. The '49 session reunites the classic Quintet of the Hot Club of France, which means mainly violinist Stephane Grappelli, who as a Chuck and Jimi fan I like as much as the eclectic three-fingered melody master. Probably because he was getting old, I find Djangology mellower than guitar music should be. The material and players on these '36-'37 sessions are a mess, but recognizable standards are the rule, with anonymous vocalists and obstreperous big bands intruding only occasionally. More important, this CD is hot--hotter than two 2001 releases also at hand, Naxos Jazz's Vol. 2 and Music Club's Swing Jazz. Blistering, in fact--what pace. He "swings," all right--like Mondrian's Broadway Boogie Woogie. A-