Thursday, 8 July 2010

Django Reinhardt - "The Rome Sessions" Vol. 1 (1949-1950)

Django Reinhardt - "The Rome Sessions" Vol. 1 (1949-1950) kinda blows a-ha's 25-year anniversary edition of Hunting High and Low out of the water in terms of recent classic releases (if 'recent classic' is even possible...) - as the name suggests, this is 60 years old or more.

However, if you're a fan of jazz and blues, and you like that crackly old sound, it's still a good option. This is the kind of thing you'd expect to hear in the background at your local jazz club while nobody's performing on stage (what do you mean, you don't have a local jazz club? Manchester's Matt and Phred's is mine). If you're rich - or just have aspirations of being high-class - bung it on at your next barbecue and serve the wine really well chilled. People will think you're upwardly mobile.

High Points

Every track is a high point here - I guess the real high point is that every track is like a new adventure in music, too. Opener Nagasaki is pure jazz, the bluesey St James Infirmary slows things down a little, while Dinette is a chatty little number that evokes the sentiments of the era that this album is actually from.

The Verdict

I may be a sucker for classic stuff when it's repackaged well, but The Rome Sessions is particularly enjoyable. Whether you like jazz or not, if you can listen to this without tapping your foot you must be dead inside. If you are a fan of live jazz, this should be a treat - it has the solos you'd expect from a live performance wrapped up in the three-minute track lengths that you'd expect from music of the time.

Don't hate me for what I'm about to say - I do think it's important though. You probably shouldn't buy this expecting surround sound. This music really is 60 years old, and was recorded with the technology that was around then. High fidelity is not in particular abundance. That might not detract from the enjoyment level for many people, though - me included - so if you're still in the mood, go for it.

Final Score: 70%

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