Recorded just two months before the outbreak of a war that would change his life and career forever, Django Reinhardt’s trio version of “I’ll See You In My Dreams” is a brilliant summation of his late-30s solo style with intriguing notions for future developments. The solo is almost entirely in single lines, and as we listen to Django create this two-and-a-half minute masterpiece, it is like we are inside his head as he discovers and develops his ideas. The precise musical logic that had always been present in Django’s playing is found here in extremely sharp focus as he takes motive after motive and turns them every which way until each turns into a new phrase that he can manipulate. In one case, that motive is one note, and as he plays that note a couple dozen times, he subtly changes the sound by changing the way he attacks the string. If his harmonic experiments are limited to a short passage early on, he finds a new challenge in offsetting rhythms and near the end of the side, there is a marvelous sequence with quarter-note triplet figures against the steady four-beat of Ferret and Soudieux. Reinhardt would have another 14 years on the planet, but even if his career would have ended with World War II, recordings like this one would have ensured his immortality.
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