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The Best of Django Reinhardt

4.5 out of 5 stars 78 customer reviews

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This new compilation from Blue Note culls 18 classic tracks from the gypsy jazz guitarist's seminal 1936-1948 period! Includes Nuages; Montmartre; St. Louis Blues; Limehouse Blues; Django's Tiger; Lady Be Good , and more.

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Django Reinhardt was both the first great jazz-guitar soloist and the first European jazz musician to have a significant influence on American musicians. Just as Earl Hines had found a way to transfer Louis Armstrong's assertive solo style to the piano, Reinhardt did it with the acoustic guitar, mixing inventive melodic improvisation with a decorative gypsy-guitar idiom and vigorous rhythm. He did it most often with the Hot Club of France, a quintet including violinist Stephane Grappelli, two rhythm guitarists, and a bassist that created its own distinctive style, a lightly propulsive mix that was an ideal setting for Django's mix of drive, invention, and charm. The recordings here range from 1936 to 1948 and showcase Reinhardt with the Hot Club, clarinetist Hubert Rostaing, and trumpeter Rex Stewart. Included is a brilliant solo performance of his "Naguine." It's an excellent introduction to one of the most original voices in jazz of the period, to a fine composer as well as a unique guitarist. --Stuart Broomer
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 19, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Blue Note
  • ASIN: B000005H2Y
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,393 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This CD is probably the best way to discover the music of Django Reinhardt. Though the recordings are from the '30s, they are cleaned up nicely by Blue Note's superb remastering. Most of the tunes were written or co-written by Django, and they showcase the brilliant playing of both Django and violinist Stephane Grappelli. Django was not only an amazing soloist, but an incredible rhythm player. Listen to his comping around Grappelli and the horns. He had so much energy his acoustic guitar cut through the rest of the band. Like most musical geniuses, he made it sound natural and effortless. I will repeat what I have stated elsewhere: Django is to '30s jazz guitar what Jimi Hendrix is to '60s rock guitar, a diamond-in-the-rough genius in a class all by himself. There have been none like him, before or since. This CD is an essential part of any jazz collection.
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Format: Audio CD
This "best of" compilation provides a good sampling of Django Reinhardt's recordings over the course of his career, which makes it a good place to start for someone who's not yet familiar with this amazing guitarist (and his equally great partner on violin, Stephane Grappelli). In addition to some great prewar Hot Club of France selections, it also includes some representative recordings made during the war years, while Grappelli was stranded in England while Reinhardt was in France. Still, in the case of Django Reinhardt, any "best of" collection has to leave out vastly more than it includes, and the tunes that are left out include much of the best acoustic guitar playing ever recorded, along with brilliant back-and-forth improvising between Reinhardt and Grappelli. Personally I think it might be worth it to just go ahead and get the wonderful 5-CD set, "The Classic Early Recordings in Chronological Order," but if you'd rather start with just a single CD, just consider it a sampling and don't hesitate to check out some of Django's other recordings later. In any case, when it comes to Django Reinhardt CDs, you can hardly go wrong no matter which ones you choose.
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Format: Audio CD
If I could change one piece of the general perception of Django Reinhardt, it would be the "Jazz Master" label, which implies to too many people that this is stuffy concert hall music.
Reinhardt was thE jazz guitar master, but his records are damn good fun. Like all the best jazz, it's overflowing with emotion but, more often than not, that emotion is witty, boisterous excitement.
Don't limit yourself to just this Reinhardt CD. Considering the point in history when he was at his artistic peak, his music was generally well recorded, and several producers/engineers/labels have made great efforts to clean up the sound. If nothing else, check out the 5-CD "box set" (not really a box, but 5 great CDs shrinkwrapped together). While my Reinhardt collection is hardly complete, I have yet to come across a less-than-excellent recording of this wonderful music.
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Format: Audio CD
There isn't a single note wasted. Not a collection, however, for those whose tastes in jazz and blues lean toward the 'pop' styles. Reinhardt's talent defies description. A must have collection; a true representation of jazz in the Jazz Age.
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Format: Audio CD
After seeing Woody Allen's *Sweet and Lowdown* I went in search of Django Reinhardt (I didn't really believe a name like that could exist)and received this wonderful surprise. The sounds of the 20's and 30's have never sounded better! An added pleasure is the pleasure of Stephane Grappelli ... it just doesn't get better than this.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I first heard of Django Reinhardt from the admiration of Ardvit in the movie "Swing Kids" (great movie if you haven't seen it). This CD is amazing. It is especially wowing to hear it knowing that Django played without the use of two of his fingers, which were tragically injured early in his life. I have often been concerned about the musical quality of older recordings, but this CD has absolutely no signs of distortion or lack of quality. First rate recording. Django plays amazingly quick and clear rifts that are astounding. He is joined in many of the recordings by Stephane Grappelli on the violin. Grappelli was one of the few that could match Django, and they play off each other wonderfully.

I highly recommend this CD to any lover of Jazz and/or Swing music.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
On this disc Blue Note presents a superb collection of some of Django Reinhardt's greatest recordings. Mostly from the 1930's (more specifically 1936-1948) the sound quality of this album is astonishing; the loving remastering they got for this release must be heard to be appreciated. I am not a particular fan of jazz, though I love great musicianship and am a student of the guitar in all genres. There can be no doubt that Reinhardt was an amazingly talented writer and performer and was one of the early jazz guitar greats, and I am thrilled to own this collection.

In these famed performances with Hot Club de France, violinist Stéphane Grappelli provided the counterpoint to Reinhardt's high energy and fast-paced guitar work. Indeed Grappelli's influence on these recordings is huge and the interplay between the two men is mesmerizing and should be studied by all performing artists. Although far from an expert on jazz, I recognize great musicianship and originality from guitarists when I hear it. This is an excellent introduction to Reinhardt: the track selection is very good (I was particularly taken by "Naguine" and "Saint Louis Blues," though my runaway favorite of the collection is "Django's Tiger,") sound quality is astonishing for recordings this old, and the brilliance of the performances is undeniable. This is a great investment for any jazz or guitar lover.
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