Stephane Grappelli & His Hot Four: St. Louis Blues


St. Louis Blues


Stephane Grappelli & His Hot Four


The Definitive Django Reinhardt, Vol. 4 (JSP 344)

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Stéphane Grappelli (violin), Django Reinhardt (guitar), Pierre 'Baro' Ferret (guitar), Joseph Reinhardt (guitar), Louis Vola (bass).

Composed by W.C. Handy


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

Grappelli might have been the leader on this date, but Django is the soloist for all but the last minute of this record. For anyone of that time who was not aware of the guitarist, the unaccompanied introduction might make them think that they were hearing a classical player. Yet, as Django slides into a slow-walk tempo and the opening melody of “St. Louis Blues”, there is no doubt that his heart lies in jazz. He makes effective use of bent notes in the opening chorus, and his flashy but tasteful runs add dramatic contrast. When he goes to the tango section, he adds to the drama with strong lines in parallel octaves. The tempo picks up as the band returns to the blues choruses, and Reinhardt’s final chorus is marked by block chords and one of his trademarked guitar rolls. When Grappelli enters, Reinhardt steals the spotlight back with his unique accompanying style featuring choppy block chords and rolls at the turnarounds.

Reviewer: Thomas Cunniffe

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