Django Reinhardt is often cited as an influential guitarist, and was one of the first guitarists to be able to move the instrument from a rhythmic backing role and up front to solo status. Reinhardt did all this despite being handicapped with only two functioning fingers in his fretting hand. The liner notes here do a more than adequate job at dissecting the individual pieces on Nuages into their historical significance; more important is the sheer, raw exuberance of Reinhardt’s talent. Darting through complex figures and chordings that would be difficult to employ with four fingers, Reinhardt erases the line between rhythm and soloist, trading licks with himself and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France, and on a couple of tracks, Coleman Hawkins.
Listening to Reinhardt extract the last ounce of passion from his instrument without a single effect or added amplifier is a humbling experience every budding guitar player should go through. Arkadia Entertainment, 34 East 23 St., New York, NY 10010