Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Django Reinhardt, "St. Louis Blues"
Django Reinhardt, "Minor Swing"
Django Reinhardt, "Mabel"
Django Reinhardt, "Sugar"
I know that I originally said I was going to focus on Gogol Bordello's music this week, but unfortunately I can't seem to find my older Gogol CDs. So, brilliant guy that I am, I figured that I would go all the way back and explore some of the influences on Gogol's music, in particular the music of the gypsies and Eastern Europe.
What better person to start with than the most famous gypsy musician ever, Django Reinhardt. It's inevitable to mention the fact that he was Romany, since it makes his story of being a musician in Paris during World War 2 that much more fascinating. But, I feel like this subtly downplays how amazing and important a musician he was, regardless of his ethnicity. Reinhardt and his musical compatriots brought gypsy and swing jazz together in one of the great sounds to my ears. Sort of like that whole greatest woman writer or best Jewish athlete tag that at the same time honors and limits. Dude was one of the most influential artists in jazz history, end of story.
I will get more into this music and sound as the week goes on, but just wanted to get started briefly. These tracks come off of the first disc of the Django Reinhardt Paris and London: 1937-1948, Volume 2, an amazing bargain boxed set from JSP Records. I figured that I would start with my favorite stuff first, and possibly work back to Volume 1 which focuses on his earliest recordings. This period is arguably Reinhardt and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France's finest one, when everything came together and the music smoked night in and night out. These songs come from September-December of 1937 in Paris, when the original band was complately intact, Reinhardt sharing the stage with his cohort Stephane Grappelli. A sort of calm before the storm period, if you will, a magical time before the entire world became dark.
I will be upping tracks from all 4 discs, I think. If you like what you hear, you need to immediately go buy this boxed set (it's under $30 for g-dsakes!). Do the right thing, satisfaction guaranteed.