La Pompe or La Poop

The first thirty years are the worst

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Was the Bianchi/Baro rhythm

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Just too Loud
Total votes : 7

La Pompe or La Poop

Postby Teddy Dupont » Thu Apr 06, 2006 6:26 pm

On 21st, 22nd, 26th & 27th April, 1937, the Quintet of the Hot Club of France recorded 18 tracks starting with "Exactly Like You" and finishing with "The Shiek of Araby". The rhythm section was unique in that it was the only time Marcel Bianchi recorded with the group; Baro Ferret being the other rhythm guitarist.

For at least 3 decades after these recordings were made, there was considerable doubt expressed about the quality of the accompaniment on them. It was actually suggested that the two rhythm players were only there because they were friends/relations of Django and were not really quality players. Even Alexis Korner in his sleeve notes to the "Art of Django" LP which featured these sessions says "...the balance was never quite right, accompaniments tending to overshadow solos...". In his notes to one of the re-mastered JSP CD's, Ted Kendal says "The received wisdom on these sessions is that the rhythm playing was leaden,.......".

However, in recent years I have often read quite contrary comments expressing the view that the rhythm playing on these sessions is a good example of La Pompe and should be admired, perhaps even replicated. It occurs to me that there is a difference in the type of people expressing these contradictary views since the earlier criticisms tended to have been made by jazz fans/critics and the subsequent positive comments made by gypsy jazz enthusiasts.

So I would be interested to know what everybody thinks about the rhythm playing on these sessions. Was it good, bad or just too loud?
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Postby Caballero » Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:04 pm

A truly inspired topic, Teddy. I suspect the long winter evenings just fly by in your company.
Mind you, my personal favourite Django session, EMI's Tiger, Coq, Echos and Embrace, has skippy-doodaa rhythm on them from the two brit boys, but Django uses this to his advantage and plays sooo beautifully.
What was the question?
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Postby radiotone » Mon Apr 10, 2006 1:19 am

My unschooled opinion... (since you asked :D )

Those are hardest grooving QHCF sessions, period. What JSP hears as leaden, I hear as crisp, sharp, etc. The sides are intense, like good tango music, and Django's playing on top sounds all the more swinging and animated because, in constrast, Baro and Marcel are keeping strict time underneath. While JSP says the QHCF peak comes with the Decca sides of 1938-39 (undeniably great, great stuff), my personal favorites are the April 1937 recordings, if by only a hair.

And the balance--well since I like the rhythm guitar vibe (which I always tend to think of as Baro's doing, though maybe this is just me romanticizing Baro), I really find no fault with the balance, despite it being criticized by numerous writers (parroting received wisdom, perhaps?)

BTW, (and I've posted this a couple of times previously, so apologies), the Mosaic remastering on these April sessions is, to me, noticeably better than JSP's issues of the same tracks. Love the spirit behind JSP, and I'll keep buying their products, but Mosaic for whatever reason (access to original metal parts? I'm out of my depth here) brings forth a lot of ambiance and clarity that is missing elsewhere.

I'll be shutting up now.

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