Album:The Electric Years
Most jazz fans should be familiar with pioneering guitarist Django Reinhardt and his 30s recordings featuring violinist Stephane Grappelli. But what you may not know is that the two were split up by the outbreak of WWII. Reinhardt formed a new band featuring Hubert Rostaing on clarinet. Reinhardt also tried out an electric guitar in the late 40s. So when WWII broke out in 1939, Reinhardt was on tour in England. He moved back to Paris and Grappelli stayed in London. Reinhardt formed a new band featuring Rostaing that remained together until he reunited with Grappelli after the war. Rostaing was born Sept. 17, 1918 in Lyon, France. He was in The Red Hotters in Algiers and moved to Paris in 1939. Rostaing played with Reinhardt from 1940-48. Reinhardt first recorded Billet Doux with Grappelli in 1938. This version was recorded in 1947. And the odd thing is that Reinhardt plays electric guitar. Rostaing plays the clarinet solo. Eugene Vees is on rhythm guitar, Emmanuel Soudieux is on bass and Andre Jourdan is on drums. This 2CD comp from Avid covers Reinhardt's electric guitar recordings. After WWII, Reinhardt reunited with Grappelli and toured the US with Duke Ellington. Hubert Rostaing led his own band in the 50s. But he turned to film composing and arranging in the 60s until his 1990 death. His best known film was Roman Polanski's 1976 film The Tenant. These rarely heard Reinhardt recordings of the 40s are certainly worth checking out. Here's a video of Billets Doux by Django Reinhardt featuring Hubert Rostaing.