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100 Years of Django

4.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 26, 2010
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 26, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Azica
  • ASIN: B002YOJC04
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,634 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
Je vous salue, Azica Records. That's what gypsy jazz guitar legend Django Reinhardt would doubtless say about this amazing tribute recording led by modern guitar virtuoso Frank Vignola. The title "100 Years of Django," alludes not only to the fact that a century has passed since Reinhardt's birth in 1910, but also to the nearly 100 songs he wrote during his all too brief lifetime. As Vignola points out in the track notes, this CD is intended to spotlight Reinhardt's prowess as a composer. In addition to familiar favorites like "Swing Gitane," "Tears" and "Nuages," Vignola has included some lesser-known gems--notably "Diminishing Blackness," with its Brazilian-tinged, impressionistic vibe; and "Mystery Pacific," a rarely heard piece that speeds along with a rhythmic propulsion reminiscent of a train chugging down the tracks. Vignola has assembled a cracking band to interpret these tunes, including Vinny Raniolo on rhythm guitar, Gary Mazzaroppi on bass and Julien Labro on accordion. Vignola delivers one compelling solo after another, foregrounding his stylistic individuality while evoking Reinhardt's bittersweet sound and quicksilver swing. Labro is equally virtuosic on the accordion, its smoky tones calling to mind the prewar jazz clubs in which Reinhardt came to prominence. This is one of those recordings that starts out in high gear and seems to get better as it goes along. The musicians are completely locked into the groove and sound as if they've been playing together for years. "100 Years of Django" was recorded in a church, which contributes to the live feel of the performances, and the notable warmth of the sound. The commitment to the spirit of Django Reinhardt is manifest in every track, as is the pure joy each musician brings to this timeless music.
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I am not a jazz critic, but more just the common person who either likes a CD or doesn't.

On occasion, a CD performance will jump out at me and stand as simply; excellence personified.

Rarely do I suggest that a listener 'must absolutely add' this CD to their collection, but this is exactly what I recommend, even for the casual acoustic guitar listener.

Even if you are not a fan of Django, you will enjoy this CD for it's minimalistic intrusion into your life as you listen, and you will find your spirit uplifted by the genius virtuoso of this artist, Frank Vignola.

I did not know it was that possible to strum your hands that fast on a guitar and still have the notes sound beautiful on a few of his songs.

Simply excellence..............you won't be disappointed.
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Frank Vignola and various sidekicks have produced many fine albums over time, all with their own individual merits, etc., but none have been as consistently enjoyable as "100 years of Django".
This cd has been in the number one position on my ancient Pioneer 5 disc player for months and I can't, as I write this now, imagine what I would replace it with.
All of the material is by guitar great Django Reinhardt, a figure who obviously has been a huge influence on Vignola the guitarist judging from past recordings and perhaps for that reason every tune here is a gem. Every performance a standout.
With Vignola in the Reinhardt role and the rest of the rhythm section in perfect support we only need a Grapelli to finish out the classic lineup. That position is more than ably filled by accordionist Julien Labro. The rest of the band have the good sense (including Frank) to just stand back and stay out of his way. His solos throughout this recording are simply stunning. A more than worthy foil for Frank Vignolas tasteful, wonderful and ultimately respectful readings of some really great music. This live, no frills recording, in a Church with amazing natural acoustics, is impeccably conceived and realized and should be in everyone's collection, jazz fan or not.
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I love Django. I love Frank Vignola. I am less enthusiastic about the accordion. If this recording had half as much accordion and twice as much of Vignola's guitar, I'd like it a whole lot better. Fans of Vignola don't want to miss his excellent two albums as half of the Frank And Joe Show, 33 1/3 and 66 2/3. One of them has Dr. John guesting to sing I'm The Sheik Of Ara-bee and it's just an all time classic. To be fair, on 100 Years, I do think the accordion abated somewhat towards the end and the album finishes very strongly. Great guitar throughout, as one might expect.
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Frank's playing is sweet, smooth and sophisticated. His melodic sense is extremely advanced and his technique is impeccable. On this recording he is able to stretch out with soft ballads to blistering hot pieces as well. With a right hand like a machine gun he leaves you breathless and satisfied. I have been inspired and have opened my ears to what can be possible on the guitar.

Julien Labro is outstanding and is a great addition to the recording.

This is a must have CD.
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