Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Gypsy Jazz (1934-1956)

This wonderful 4CD collection of Gypsy jazz—an Aladdin's Cave of rarities, curiosities and lesser known virtuosi of the genre—covers the first twenty or so years of the music's history. Disc one starts in 1934, with future Quintette Du Hot Club De France stars guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli's first recording session together, and disc four ends in 1956, with two gems featuring electric guitarist Sacha Distel, before his later career as a pop singer and matinee idol. Most of the tracks were recorded in Paris, with a handful made elsewhere in Europe or further afield. The four discs, comprehensively annotated in the accompanying booklet, are arranged chronologically. For most people, Gypsy jazz begins and ends with Reinhardt, indubitably the style's most gifted guitarist. The chief delight of Gypsy Jazz, however, is that it casts its net far wider than Reinhardt's recordings, revealing a host of other astonishing and singular musicians. Ten of the twenty-five tracks on disc one, which spans the pre-war years 1934-39, include Reinhardt, in Hot Club and other settings, but he is heard on only another eight tracks over the remaining three discs. Disc one's opener, "Le Jour Ou Je Te Vis," a resounding contradiction, incidentally, of the dictum "never start with a ballad," finds Reinhardt a featured soloist in the band led by crooner Jean Sablon, who was seeking to emulate Bing Crosby's early recordings with guitarist Eddie Lang. Reinhardt's limpid, pensive solo is as lovely as anything he recorded later. The disc's other Reinhardt tracks, most of them made with the Hot Club, are also to be treasured, but are already widely available. Less well known, though equally remarkable, are seven tracks featuring the guitar-playing brothers Sarane, Baro and Matelo Ferret. Members of a Paris-based Gitan clan with its roots in Spain, the Ferrets brought a darker, starker character to Gypsy jazz than that favoured by Reinhardt and the Hot Club (though they could rug-cut with the best of them when required). The darkness was no affectation—by the 1940s, Baro, for one, had drifted away from music to become a full-time gangster. "Winds And Strings," made with accordionist Gus Viseur's group in 1938, is a masterpiece of brooding intensity to rival anything recorded by trumpeter Miles Davis. Discs two and three span the war years, 1939-45. The Ferrets are frequently featured, mostly in Sarane's Swing Quintette De Paris. By 1942, seeking to avoid the attention of Paris' occupying nazis, the band had dropped the prefix Swing. As Gypsies, the Ferrets were already at risk of arrest and "deportation," and so it took considerable courage for them further to endanger themselves by featuring the Jewish violinist, Georges Effosse, on eight tracks recorded in 1942. A classically trained virtuoso on a par with Grappelli, Effosse's melancholic air sat perfectly in the group. This gentle-looking and supremely lyrical musician perished in the Dora concentration camp in 1944. His compelling, weeping playing on "Royal Blue" inspires one of Sarane Ferret's most affecting solos. Disc four, which takes us up to 1956, contains other lost masterpieces. Django Reinhardt's guitarist brother, Joseph, plays perhaps his finest ever solo on "L'Oeil Noir." Electric guitarist Jean Bonal, more in Charlie Christian's tradition than the Reinhardts', offers two shimmering recalibrations of Django's signature originals "Melodie Du Crepuscule" and "Nuages," recorded in 1954. The twin electric guitars of Sacha Distel and Jean-Pierre Sasson may actually be more swing-to-bop than Gypsy jazz, but "Two Guitar Blues" and "Joan," from 1956, are each delightful. Four of the greatest tracks on the final disc—and perhaps on the entire set—were recorded in Buenos Aires, 1944-47 by the guitarist Oscar Aleman. Argentine-born, but resident in Paris since 1931, where for several years he was a member of singer/dancer Josephine Baker's band, the Baker Boys, Aleman escaped from France to Argentina, via Spain, in 1941. With a quintet co-featuring violinist Manuel Gavinovich and guitarist Guillermo Barbieri, Aleman brings a dramatic, heavily tango-influenced atmosphere to "Caminos Cruzados" (Cross Roads) and a surreal, cod-Arabic one to "Diga Diga Doo." And all this is barely to scratch the surface of the munificent Gypsy Jazz, whose four hours and forty minutes' playing time is unfailingly entertaining and frequently surprising, with a heap of other near-forgotten but distinctive musicians to be savoured. Highly recommended.
Chris May

Gypsy Jazz
Sarane Ferret, Henri Crolla, Oscar Aleman,
Django Reinhardt & Others
Complete box, 4 cds.



Crazy Strings

1 Le Jour où je te vis (Johnston, Coslow)  3:08
2 Cloud Castles (Van Hoorebeke)  3:10
3 Crazy Strings (Van Hoorebeke)  3:22
4 You Took Advantage of Me (Rodgers, Hart)  2:53
5 Bricktop (Reinhardt, Grappelli3:01
6 Speevy (Reinhardt, Grappelli2:50
7 Paramount Stomp (Reinhardt, Grappelli)  2:34
8 Boléro (Reinhardt, Grappelli)  4:00
9 Mabel (Reinhardt)  4:04
10 Christmas Swing (Reinhardt)  2:47
11 Sweet Georgia Brown (Pinkard, Bernie, Casey)  3:13
12 Winds and Strings (Viseur, Ferret)  3:11
13 Automne (Viseur)  2:17
14 Daphné (Reinhardt, Grappelli)  2:52
15 Andalousie (Viseur, Ferret)  2:38
16 Nobody's Sweetheart (Kahn, Erdman, Meyers, Schoebel)  2:18
17 Whispering (Schonberger, Coburn, Rose)  2:44
18 Ma Theo (Matheo)  3:01
19 Gin, Gin (Reinhardt)  3:05
20 La Valse des Niglots (Malha)  3:09
21 Ti-Pi-Tin (Grever, Leveen)  2:39
22 Russian Lullaby (Berlin)  2:59
23 Just a Little Swing (Aleman, Racon)  2:23
24 Dear Old Southland (Creamer, Layton)  2:58
25 Jeepers Creepers (Warren, Mercer)  2:30


Cd. 2

Gitan Swing

1 Hallelujah (Robin, Grey, Youmans)  2:16
2 Jumping For Joy (Wilson, Sampson)  2:34
3 I Found a New Baby (Plamer, Williams)  2:33
4 Undecided (Shavers, Robin)  2:50
5 Rosetta (Hines, Woods)  2:34
6 Coucou (Mathas, Feline)  2:39
7 Opus 5 (Shavers)  3:00
8 Swing de Paris (Reinhardt)  2:47
9 Oiseaux des Îles (Reinhardt)  2:35
10 Nostalgia Gitana (Murena, Perugi)  2:29
11 Miami (Ferret)  2:36
12 Septembre (Ferret)  2:48
13 Blue Guitare (Ferret)  2:30
14 Swing Star (Ferret)  2:50
15 Swing 39 (Reinhardt, Grappelli)  2:52
16 Cocktail Swing (Ferret)  2:43
17 Deux Guitares (Ferret)  2:22
18 Tiger Rag (LaRocca, DaCosta, Shields, Edwards, Regas, Sbarbaro)  2:18
19 Gitan Swing (Murena, Ferret)  2:44
20 Rose de Miel (Waller)  2:25
21 Royal Blue (Ferret)  3:08
22 Surprise Party (Ferret)  3:00
23 Daphné (Reinhardt)  2:35
24 Hungaria (Reinhardt)  2:52


Cd. 3

Blue Dreams

1 Zazou Zazou (Loyraux)  2:49
2 Ballade (Viseur)  2:42
3 Blues en Mineur (Reinhardt)  2:46
4 Swing 42 (Reinhardt)  2:40
5 Sur la glace (Deloof)  3:16
6 Chantons ensemble (Omer)  3:36
7 Harlem Swing (Deloof, Powell)  3:32
8 Gus et Gus (Dellof)  2:37
9 Rêves Bleus (Viseur ?)  3:11
10 Manche de fouet (Viseur)  2:26
11 Ding, Dong Dang (Thunes)  2:26
12 Skumring (Ottersen)  2:56
13 Promenade (Normann)  2:23
14 Opus 1 (Normann)  2:51
15 Lucky (Ferret)  2:35
16 Folies Bergère (Ferret)  3:05
17 Studio 28 (Ferret)  2:47
18 Sex-Appeal (Ferret)  3:03
19 Improvisation n° 3 Pt. 1 (Reinhardt)  3:00
20 Improvisation n° 3 Pt. 2 (Reinhardt)  2:45
21 Exactly Like You (Fields, McHugh)  2:21
22 Swing Guitar (Reinhardt, Grappelli)  2:44
23 La Vipère du trottoir (Scotto, Rodor)  2:26
24 Un peu de rêve (Reinhardt)  2:59
25 Douce Georgette (Sweet Georgia Brown) (Bernie, Pinkard, Casey)  2:33


Cd. 4

Minor Swing

1 L'Oeil Noir (Reinhardt)  2:25
2 Caminos Cruzados (Lecuona)  2:25
3 Darktown Strutters Ball (Brooks)  2:49
4. Cielos Azules (Berlin)  2:32
5 Diga Diga Doo (McHugh, Fields)  2:51
6 Ideas In Minor (Christiani)  3:22
7 How High The Moon ? (Hamilton, Lewis)  3:38
8. Minor Swing (Reinhardt)  2:23
9 Mélodie au Crépuscule (Reinhardt)  2:54
10. Nuages (Reinhardt)  3:27
11 Flighty Flies (Christiani, Poptie)  3:21
12. Snowy Blues (Poptie)  3:13
13 Artillerie Lourde (Reinhardt)  4:23
14 I Surrender Dear (Barris, Clifford)  2:55
15 Out Of Nowhere (Green, Heyman)  2:56
16 Djoungalo (Ferret)  2:09
17 Pennies From Heaven (Johnston, Burke)  2:03
18 Love For Sale (Porter)  3:55
19 Yardbird Suite (Parker)  3:41
20 Je cherche après Titine (Daniderff, Bertal, Maubon, Ronn)  1:51
21 Ay, Ay, Ay (Freire)  2:00
22 Two Guitar Blues (Sasson)  3:04
23 Joan (Sasson2:30
24 Just Blowing (Poptie)  3:08 


Recorded between January 1934 & June 1956

See the complete artwork for all details (dates, places, musicians, etc.)

Proper Records presents a four-CD, 97-track anthology devoted to music recorded during the golden years of Gypsy jazz, from swing to bop to a bit of the cool (1934-1956). Happily, this tradition is still very much alive, and the recordings compiled herein demonstrate why even Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Eichmann, and Heinrich Himmler couldn't stamp it out. In addition to classic sides by famous or relatively well-known artists like guitarist Django Reinhardt, violinists Stéphane Grappelli, Michel Warlop, and Svend Asmussen and crooner Jean Sablon, this fascinating collection traces the intricacies of the Gypsy jazz movement throughout mainland Europe with rare recordings by members of the Reinhardt and Ferret families as well as accordionists Gus Viseur and Tony Murena, saxophonist Albert Ferreri, reedman and violinist Frans Poptie, and a veritable swarm of guitarists including Oscar Aleman, Jean Bonal, Eddy Christiani, Jean-Pierre Sasson, and Henri Crolla. Given this set's wealth of variegated material and its remarkably affordable price tag, Proper may well have come up with the world's best all-purpose, authentic Gypsy jazz collection. It more or less picks up where the Frémeaux & Associes 2005 release Django Reinhardt Complete, Vol. 20 : Pour Que Ma Vie left off.
arwulf arwulf 

Source :


jazzy62 said...

Excellent post! Thank you very much for this.

rowgatien said...

Excellent. Merci pour ces archives et ta générosité...

the doc said...

looks great! thanks very much.

salience said...

very nice indeed!

Otis Foster said...

Thnx melanchthon - a nice compilation of music I might not otherwise hear.

daniel said...

please password??


Winrar is saying that the .rar file for part 2 is corrupt....:(

glinka21 said...

It's not corrupt. I've just downloaded it without an issue. I will say that Rapidshare is extremely slow since they redesigned their service, and it's possible that there was some interference in your download. But file isn't the issue.

raccoon said...

Please pass...

raccoon said...

...Sorry , never mind, thanks for this gift...

hcb said...

You really are a delightful fellow. Many thanks, as ever.

klf said...

Wow, thanks, this is awesome. Just like most everything else here - great music, almost always something new/different, and always leading me in new directions in listening to music. Happy New Year to you.

frumious bandersnatch said...

This is awesome ! thanks a lot !

AmyBRAINS said...

Many thanks, Melanchthon.

Alfie Cooke said...

Is it possible for a re-up of this?

Melanchthon said...


Cd. 1

Cd. 2

Cd. 3

Cd. 4

Alfie Cooke said...

A thousand "thank you"s for re-upping this. After the unbelievably comprehensive Django sets that you did, I've really got the bug for gypsy jazz! Thank you so much again.

deGallo said...

Marvelous, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful! E.g. Guy Viseur - true master musician, fantastic gift to all music afficionados, not only Gypsy, thanks so much MM!

lucky5 said...

Thanks for the new links!!

Fred Archtop said...

Thanks Mel !

sep troelstra said...

Thanks a lot!!

Kovina Kris said...

I love this chance to get a broader overview of the whole Gipsy Jazz genre. Thank you very much Mel!