PAUL VERNON CHESTER
Django in Rome
The postwar recording sessions included in this budget-priced boxed set are the last ones Django Reinhardt made with violinist Stephane Grappelli. The remaining original members of his acclaimed Quintette du Hot Club de France had departed already, and on the first three of these four discs the guitarist and violinist are accompanied by a trio of Italian musicians: pianist Gianni Safred, bassist Carlo Pecori, and drummer Aurelio de Carolis. Reinhardt and Grappelli are both in excellent form, and their accompanists more than carry their own weight on such familiar fare as "Minor Swing," "How High the Moon," and "Swing '39"; there are also several fun adaptations of classical melodies, such as "Tchaikovsky's Starry Night" and "Grieg's Norwegian Dance." Grappelli is missed on the final disc, but overall this set provides a fascinating overview of Reinhardt's work at a pivotal point in his career. The JSP label's packaging continues the company's admirable tradition of paying loving attention to detail (full credits, new and extensive notes) without imposing expensive frills on the package. Recommended. ~ Rick Anderson
Django plays acoustic guitar on all titles with Grappelli and
an electric guitar with Ekyan, the rhythm is piano-bass-drums on all sides, an
Italian rhythm section on the acoustic session, a French one on the electric
The majority of these recordings are familiar in the form of the Djangologie-LP-box and one "Jazz Tribune" twofer, this is the full monty, a collector's dream come true. These Rome recordings are also rare recordings as Django, who suffered from terrible depression following the years after his disappointing visit to the USA, didn't touch his beloved guitar for more than a year, save for this Rome engagement.
What a blessing in disguise, and what a boon to have them all properly edited, the masters not altered to a negative extent, but resounding and full, which was already true with the Djangologie box (it is by now a priced collector's item), only that you don't have to worry about your treasured vinyl getting scratches.
As the titles with Stéphane Grappelli are representative of their common work and mostly on a par with their classic pre-war recordings and as the titles. With the amplified Django shows his later stage of musical development, this box can be recommended to anyone interested in Django Reinhardt or all people who appreciate melodious, swinging, heart-felt, swinging and entertaining music. There are 90 pieces in all.
In 1949 Django and Stephane played at the 'Tarpeian Rock' a chic 'Rupe Tarpea' nightclub in Rome with an Italian rhythm section consisting of piano, bass and drums. While there, a large amount of material was recorded for an unknown lover of their music. Django apparently recorded two versions of NUAGES at this time although only one version has ever been released. The results of these sessions (along with the 1950 Rome recordings) remained in a vault in Rome for many years; a total of around 100 tracks were released. The first NUAGES recorded in the 1949 sessions produced one of Django's masterpiece recordings. Stephane does no more than play the melody on the first and final choruses (no introduction) but in between Django displays his magical improvisational skills on acoustic guitar - he never played the amplified instrument in Stephane's company (on record). It could be argued that this was one of the maestro's finest performances to date on any recording - not just on NUAGES. The second recording of NUAGES from this session remains unissued.- David Gould.
During an evening at "Tarpeian Rock," one of the patrons, a "cummendatur" Milan, demanded to Django a song by Charles Trenet, the famous "Ménilmontant." Reinhardt performed, masterfully as always, the song, characterizing his own way. On completion of tune the same gentleman repeated the same title: Django was delighted, thinking that he liked the song so special, and re-run "Ménilmontant" with greater emphasis. Well, you would never imagine, but eventually the "cummendatur" threw a shoe at Django, guilty in his opinion, that it did not satisfy his request! The high-ranking goat had not understood anything!
LA ROCCA, E LA RUPE TARPEA, (The Fortress and Tarpeian Rock. ... it afterwards took the name of Tarpeian Rock from Tarpea, dauter of the citadel gatekeeper who was killed there by the Sabines. From that time forward the free fall from the rock would be the fate of all traitors.
Django Reinhardt - guitar Stephane Grappelly - violin
Italian Rhythm Section Gianni Safred - piano Carlo Pecori - bass Aurelio de Carolis - drums
Rediscovered in the late 50s by a RCA Victor executive. Reuniting Django and Grappelly, the selections are a characteristically varied assortment. The standards are well-chosen: Charles Trenet's "Beyond the Sea"; Fats Waller's exuberant "Honeysuckle Rose", and the perennials "After you've Gone", "Lover Man", and "I Saw Stars". Several of the originals were written by Django and Grappely. "Minor Swing" was devised a few minutes before a 1937 recording session, later becoming a staple at the French Hot Club. "Bricktop" was also written in 1937; "Heavy Artillery", composed in 1944, was one of Dajngo's favorite tunes; "Djangology", composed in 1935, was his first composition. Compelling versions of Trenet's "Menilmontant" and "Où es-tu, mon Amour" ("Where are you, my Love?) are bonus track in this set, a striking and provocative survey of the playing of a mature, moving musician.
1. I Saw Stars 2. After you've Gone 3. Heavy Artillery (Artillerie Lourde) 4. Beyond the Sea (La Mer) 5. Minor Swing 6. Menilmontant 7. Bricktop 8. Swing Guitars 9. All the Things you Are 10. Daphne 11. It's only a Paper Moon 12. Improvisation on Tchaikovsky's Pathétique (Andante) 13. The World is Waiting for the Sunrise 14. Djangology 15. Où es-tu, mon Amour? (Where are you, my Love?) 16. Marie 17. I Surrender, Dear 18. Hallelujah 19. Swing 42 20. I'll Never be the Same 21. Honeysuckle Rose 22. Lover Man (Oh, Where can you Be?) 23. I Got Rhythm Django Reinhardt - guitar Stephane Grappelly - violin Gianni Safred - piano Carlo Pecori - bass Aurelio de Carolis - drums Recorded in Rome, 1949. Released by RCA Victor in 1961. CD Re-release in 2002.
January-February 1949 RAI Studios, Rome
Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli
Django Reinhardt (g); Stéphane Grappelli (v); Gianni Safred (p); Marco Pecori (b); Aurelio de Carolis (dm)
Dream Of You, Begin The Beguine, How High The Moon, Nuages (No 1), I Can't Get Started, I Can't Give You Anything, But Love, Manoir De Mes Réves, Nuages (No 2) *, Over The Rainbow, Night And Day, Minor Blues. Nature Boy, The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise, Vous Qui Passez Sans Me Voir, Hallelujah, Nagasaki, I'll Never Be The Same, Swing, 39. Clopin Clopant, Honeysuckle Rose, All The Things You Are, Djangology, Liza, For Sentimental Reasons, Daphne, Beyond The Sea (La Mer), Sweet Georgia Brown, Lover Man, Marie, Stormy Weather, Minor Swing, To Each, His Own, What Is This Thing Called Love, Ou Es-Tu Mon Amour (Where Are You My Love), Undecided, Improvisation #4, I'm In The Mood For Love *, Swing 42, I Surrender Dear, After You've Gone, Mam'zelle *, I Got Rhythm, I Saw Stars, Artillerie Lourde, It's Only A Paper Moon, Time On My Hands, Bricktop, Improvisation On Tchaikowsky's Starry Night, My Blue Heaven, Menilmontant, Swing Guitars, My Melancholy Baby, Truckin', Webster, Micro (Mike), Micro (Mike), The Man I Love, The Peanut Vendor, Just A Gigolo *, Troublant Bolero, Rosetta, Blues Skies, It Might As Well Be Spring, Blue Lou, I'll Never Be The Same, Brazil, What A Difference A Day Made, Pigalle, Body And Soul *, Que Reste-Il De Nos Amours? */ * Not released
Francois Vermeille, André Ekyan, Django, Christian Garros, Jean Bouchety, at Le Touquet during 1949
25/10/49 - Radio Geneve -
Once again a series of recordings, this time for Radio Geneve, remained forgotten for 30 years and contained a version of NUAGES. With Ekyan on clarinet and Django on a Rio electric guitar the contrast between this and the previous recording could not be greater. Django seemed very comfortable with the electric instrument at this time and displayed none of the distortion evident on later recordings. The pattern is the same and Django both starts and finishes his solo in harmonics. The feeling of the whole recording is one of subtlety and the impression given is that the musicians could have been playing after hours in a deserted club to wind down after a hard set.......
(The recordings on the fourth disc or the Rome Sessions, which date from 1950, are credited to the Quintette du Hot Club de France, but by that point Grappelli had been replaced by alto saxophonist and clarinettist Andre Ekyan and the remaining three musicians comprised a standard piano trio -- an instrumental configuration far removed from that of the original quintet.) The resulting sound is an interesting blend of Reinhardt's Parisian Gypsy Jazz and the more mainstream small-ensemble jazz sound that was popular both in Europe and the United States at the time.
Django Reinhardt, Andre Ekyan, Ralph Schecroun, Alf Masselier and Roger Paraboschi in Rome (1950) - Django has adopted a Mogar Guitar model with a Sound Hole and long improvised perhaps replacement scratch plate with added DeArmond Rhythm Chief Pickup - alas Django's hand obscures what exact pick-up may be there and that appears to be a Volume Control and a logo or reflection - note the amp lead trial to the 'fretwork' case amplifier behind Django - which amp is that and has the speaker been faced to the wall for recording.
Mogar Guitar as used by Django on the RAI Sessions proving the Manufacturer's logo on the upper bout and added scratch endorsements - Alain, Mimmo and D Reinhardt.
Gibson L-4 1927
April-May 1950 ~ RAI Studios, Rome
Sweet Georgia Brown, Minor Swing, Double Whiskey, Artillerie Lourde, St-James Infirmary, C Jam Blues, Honeysuckle, Rose, Anniversary Song, Stormy Weather, Russian Songs Medley, Jersey Bounce, Dinette, Sophisticated Lady, Micro (Mike), Dream Of You, Nuages, Darktown Strutter's Ball, Danse Norvegienne, A-Tisket A-Tasket, Manoir De Mes Réves, Place De Brouckère, September Song, Royal Garden Blues, St-Louis Blues, Stompin' At The Savoy, Reverie, Impromptu, Black Night, Boogie Woogie, Bolero
The next year 1950 there was another recording session in Rome without Grapelli and with André Ekyan, Ralph Schecroun, Alf Masselier and Roger Paraboschi, which is even considered to be worst. In the 600 of the french review "Jazz Hot" Roger Paraboschi relates anecdote about it.
They were playing in Rome in a very smart night-club the 'Open Gate'. When they first arrived the proprietress asked them "Is there a guitarist in your band?". That proved they had never listened to what they were playing. Django turned to Roger Paraboschi and told him "Find out about when there is a train, I am going back to Paris". Roger had to cool him down saying "Hold on we have just arrived, don't loose your temper". Then the proprietress asked them "They showed a movie here, with an extraordinary guitarist, which was a huge success : Le Troisième Homme (The third Man) featuring the Zither not the Guitar. Do you know this tune?". They had never played it but they accepted. When the fated moment arrives, the head waiter opens the curtains behind Roger and makes a sign showing three fingers : "the Third Man". Django plays it, adding some variations and then moves to another theme in the same tempo and the head waiter comes back and says :"So, are you going to play it?". How they all laughed. From this moment they used to play it two or three times each night. It is a pity it was never recorded, with some new variations every night it had become a 'chef d'oeuvre'. During the recording session, Roger Paraboschi asked Django to record it, but Django said : "Stop, I am fed up. We played it each and every night. That's enough".
Nuages - Almost a duplicate of the previous version but perhaps a little less subtle. Harmonics to start the solo but not to close it out. The sound of the electric guitar is a little more metallic but not unacceptably so. If you are one of those who believe that Django's best work was done on acoustic, please give the recordings from this period a listen. You owe it to yourself! ...................Dave Gould
Regarding the claimunder the photo of the Quintette at Claridges Hotel in 1934, I am not convinced about this. I doubt that Django even knew Marcel Bianchi in 1934.
Attached is a photo of Django playing Bianchi's Carbonnell in 1937. - Regards, Roger S Baxter
The personnel is L-R Marcel Bianchi, Django, Stephane Grappelli, Jerry Mengo, Coleman Hawkins & Andre Dupont.
In Marseille Arthur Carbonell-Torres II was actively producing fine guitars until he ended his very full career in 1975. His father had been a guitar maker in Valencia before he opened a workshop in Marseille around 1922 where he taught his son the craft. After the second world war the son turned to the construction of concert guitars (numbered from about 300 to 580). He taught the craft to Joel Laplane who took over the workshop in 1975.
In the mid-thirties Marcel Bianchi heard Django Reinhardt and immediately began copying his style of playing which may have prompted his to move to Paris in 1937. After attracting Charles Delaunay's attention at an amateur jazz musician competition, he was offered a job as one of the rhythm guitarists with the Hot Club Quintet partly because Louis Vola thought he might bring some stability to the group. Bianchi recorded three times with the Quintet in April, 1937 and his rhythm playing with Baro Ferret elicits very different views as to its quality. It seems he used his Carbonell at these sessions because although, like the rest of the Quintet's guitarists, he was contracted to use a Selmer in public, he actually preferred the Carbonell.
Bianchi’s tenure with the Quintet was quite short since he wanted to make his mark as a soloist. He left in 1938 to begin a successful career as a free-lance guitarist playing with many of the famous Parisian jazz musicians of the day. During the War, he was conscripted, captured, escaped and finally fled to Switzerland where he began performing and recording with the Jerry Thomas Swingtette. He also obtained an electric guitar and was one of the first, if not the first, French guitarist to regularly play such an instrument.
1933 L4 Acoustic Gibson with sound hole
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