Stéphane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt: Ultrafox
Quintette du Hot Club de France
Django Reinhardt / Quintet of the Hot Club of France – First Recordings! (OJC/Prestige OJCCD-1895-2)
Roger Chaput, Joseph Reinhardt (rhythm guitars), Louis Vola (bass).
Composed by Stéphane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt.
Recorded: Paris, April 1935
Rating: 99/100 (learn more)
Stéphane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt met in 1931, but did not play together until 1933, at which time the idea for a string quintet began to form (although Django would have preferred a drummer to a third guitar). The Quintette du Hot Club de France recorded from 1934 until 1939, when World War II led to its breakup. While Django received much of the acclaim, Stéphane shared the solo space and more than held his own. On the medium-tempo "Ultrafox" (the title a takeoff on the Ultraphone record company which released the side), Grappelli engagingly plays the jaunty theme that sounds a bit like "Four or Five Times." Django solos first with delicate, precise lines, then a contrasting chordal section, and finally back to glittering extended runs. Grappelli enters swinging hard, displaying a full, glowing tone and ripping off flawlessly executed lines comparable in impact to Django's, ending with a neat stop-and-start coda punctuated by the guitarist's strummed counterpoint.
Reviewer: Scott Albin