lunedì 31 agosto 2015

Review of Django Reinhardt In Solitaire Complete Recordings For Solo Guitar, Definitive Records, 2005


Fifteen songs, only fifteen tracks of solo guitar in the discography of the great Django Reinhardt. It's possible? Django has recorded a lot, especially if we think that he played in a time when the long-playing did not yet exist, and most of his music was first recorded on wax and then transferred on 78 records, with the few audio resources then present. Only the series of three cd boxes "Complete Season" has a total of 40 CDs! A huge stuff that can still embarrass many contemporary musicians, at a time when everyone is able to transform a room of the house in an efficient studio recording.
Yet for solo guitar Django has recorded very little, a handful of songs for less than an hour, taken from recordings made between 1937 and 1950. These recordings were made often to meet the needs of producers to strengthen a recording that was too short, or sometimes the desire to capture a particular moment of creativity Django maybe when he was warming himself preparing for the session. The thing that I enjoy listening to these songs, is that they were different from the jazz that he habitually played: from his playing only emerge in a variety of different influences, but also its Gypsy origins and Gypsy folklore present in Spain and France at the time and, perhaps, some inspiration came from some composition for classical guitar, listened to who knows where. Impossible to know. Certainly Django, in these improvisations, does not seem to be limited in any way, slowing down and speeding up at will, as he was free from the presence of a rhythm section. The times are quite limited and confined to the size of the 78s, with the exceptions of Nuages ​​and Belleville, about 7 minutes each, recorded in 1950 and which were to be used for the realization of a film dedicated to Django (it was the custom at the first they record the soundtrack and then filmed the artists who played in playback on their own recordings) in these Django let himself go, almost fun to play and reinvent his own songs. The rest, with the exception of Perfum and Echoes of Spain, are all songs titled "Improvisation". No names, simple articulated structures, sometimes repetitive but always with constant and new interactions and changes that make them more interesting. You might think that Django held a sort of diary of these improvisations, being themselves as numbered, but I do not think so. Django could not read music and had learned the rudiments of reading and writing only in old age thanks to Stephane Grappelli, who had helped him, and leaving very few written documents. Listening well, however, you realize how he created some sort of basic vocabulary and grammar of his playing, to play the guitar, to improvise, to create and recreate his own music. The notes accompanying the CD explain that Django was not very prone to recordings in solo, and perhaps he was right: listening I can almost secretly spy on him, to look over his shoulder trying to unravel his secrets, and this leaves me a bit puzzled. But his music is so beautiful ...

1. Improvisation No.1 
2. Perfum 
3. Improvisation No. 2 [Master] 
4. Improvisation No. 2 [Alternate Take] 
5. Echoes of Spain 
6. Naguine 
7. Improvisation No.3, Pt. 1 
8. Improvisation No.3, Pt. 2 
9. Improvisation No.6
10. Improvisation No. 7 (Aka No. 2)
11. Improvisation 47 (Improvisation No.5) 
12. Improvisation No.4 
13. Belleville
14. Nuages 
15. Two Improvised Guitar Choruses [*]
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