Django Reinhardt, guitar; Gerard Leveque, clarinet; Maurice Meunier, clarinet; Hubert Rostaing, clarinet; Emmanuel Soudieux, bass; Eugene Vees, guitar; Joseph Reinhardt, guitar; Ladislas Czabanyck, bass; Andre Jourdan, drums; Eddie Bernard, piano; Jacques Martinon, drums
2003 marks fifty years since the death of this famous gypsy guitarist; a man who firmly placed the guitar into a strong Jazz roll, and a man who is emulated to this day. This compilation CD focuses on the year 1947, a period when his free swing was giving way to a more be-bop sound. There is a noticeable change between the first track; "Nuages". The soft gentle swing of Maurice Meunier on clarinet and the uplifting guitar solo by Reinhardt changes into something sharper, fast and daring with, "Belleville". There are nineteen tracks on the CD, the longest lasting only three and a half minutes. Reinhardt uses three clarinets on different tracks, adding enormously to the general ambiance. "Danse Norvegienne", in collaboration with Edvard Grieg, has some finely rounded clarinet playing by Hubert Rostaing, equalled by solos from Reinhardt. "Babik" gave off such strange vibrations at times that it sounded as if it had been recorded inside an out-of-tune upright piano; this was followed by the sweetness of "Melodie Au Crepuscule", to calm the nerves. The title track, "Douce Ambiance", at number sixteen, is a fine, free-swinging piece of music. There is always an added atmosphere and intrinsic delight in the old-fashioned recording techniques; it seems to bring the musicians closer and one can almost smell the sweat. This CD is a must for the connoisseur.
by Ferdinand Maylin
New Sounds - CD Reviews