RENOWN AND RESISTANCE 1937-1943 (5CD)
JSP (JSP970 )
Here's yet another wonderful set of Djangology from JSP - a label whose series of Reinhardt recordings is unsurpassed. This set covers the most turbulent time in Django's career when his long time partnership with Grappelli was faltering and the clouds of war were forming over Europe but it was also a time when American musicians were swarming all over the continent and wanting to make music with this legendary guitarist.
The first two CDs in this set cover the pre-war years and showcase the output of Django's various studio sessions with fellow countrymen Grappelli, violinist Michel Warlop, Philippe Brun and various French jazz bands as well as visiting Americans such as Larry Adler, Eddie South, Benny Carter's Orchestra, stride pianist Joe Turner and Rex Stewarts Feetwarmers who included Barney Bigard and Billy Taylor.
As war threatened, Django and Grappelli toured England together but as soon as Germany invaded France, Django returned home to be with his family which was a dangerous thing to do as the Nazis hated gypsies almost as much as they hated jazz musicians. Miraculously he managed to escape the dreaded knock at the door and somehow continued playing jazz in his own country and Belgium. Showing no signs of nervous tension he made some stunning records with a host of French and Belgian bands and the other three CDs present every single track in chronological order.
As you'd expect, there isn't a single dud among these essential 134 recordings. Once again we're obliged to Ted Kendall who has not only found some of the rarest records imaginable but restored sounds from them that you would not believe possible. Five stars!
Review Date: March 2012