Quintette du Hot Club de France: Oh, Lady Be Good

Track

Oh, Lady Be Good

Group

Quintette du Hot Club de France

CD

The Quintessential Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli (ASV 5267)

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Musicians:

Stéphane Grappelli (violin), Django Reinhardt (guitar), Roger Chaput (guitar), Joseph Reinhardt (guitar), Louis Vola (bass).

Composed by George & Ira Gershwin

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Recorded: Paris, December 28, 1934

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Rating: 87/100 (learn more)

From the very first session of the QHCF, “Oh, Lady Be Good” shows the group still getting its bearings. The swing rhythms are still a little jerky, and part of the problem is Louis Vola’s two-beat bass pattern. On the occasions where he plays four beats to the bar, the rhythmic issues straighten themselves out almost instantly. After Grappelli & Reinhardt’s opening figure, the guitarist takes his first solo, paraphrasing the Gershwin melody as he goes. This was a typical setup for the early QHCF sides and Django was very adept at alternating between melody and improvisation. What is already present here is Django’s fine sense of sequencing and developing motives, as displayed in a superbly executed sequence near the end of his second chorus. However, he didn’t have a wide range of licks, and he had not yet developed a sense of solo structure. There is a hint of future developments during his second solo as he strongly chords to designate the surprise modulations. Grappelli seems a little less polished than we might expect, but he delivers two red-hot solos that raise the intensity of the performance.

Reviewer: Thomas Cunniffe

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