Django Reinhardt: Low Cotton
Django Reinhardt (guitar)
From A To Z, Vol. 2 (WNTS)
Recorded: Paris, France, April 5, 1939
Rating: 96/100 (learn more)
Some of the finest but least-known small group recordings of the Swing Era were five tracks recorded in Paris in 1939 by the great guitarist Django Reinhardt and three members of Duke Ellington's Orchestra. The original 78s were issued in France billed as Rex Stewart and His Feetwarmers, and later in the U.S. as Rex Stewart's Big Four. To the best of my knowledge, they were unavailable for the entire duration of the LP era. This CD reissues them under Reinhardt's name.
"Low Cotton" is a 32-bar AABA form with changes similar to "I Want a Little Girl." The entire performance consists of two choruses preceded by Stewart's solo introduction, which sounds cool and majestic at the same time. Reinhardt and clarinetist Barney Bigard split the first chorus, with Bigard's rich, woody low- register sound contrasting nicely with Django's bright yet warm tone. The first half of the second chorus features a gorgeous single-string solo by Reinhardt, with Stewart taking the bridge. Rex recaps the theme backed by a sensitive but intense clarinet obbligato. This long-neglected classic is first-rate chamber music that transcends categories.
Reviewer: Kenny Berger