During the LP era, Django Reinhardt's discography seemed substantial and pleasantly challenging; along came digital reproduction with the emergence of uncommon or previously undiscovered works, and now there are enough Reinhardt albums to confuse even the experienced connoisseur. Perhaps the best way to experience his legacy is to map his career with chronological precision, as several reissue labels have successfully done. If you just want to get a really nice taste of what this wonderful musician sounded like during his early maturity, Indigo's Swing 47 might just be the album for you. It consists of 24 selections recorded in Paris between April and November 1947 and originally issued on the Blue Star and Vogue labels.
British pianist Django Bates returns to ECM with one of his very finest constellations, the trio Belovèd, with Swedish bassist Petter Eldh and Danish drummer Peter Bruun, and an aptly named album, "The Study of Touch". All three musicians are highly individual players, subtly challenging the conventions of the jazz piano trio.
Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard first teamed up on record for Pancho & Lefty in 1983, a record released some 20 years after both singers began their careers. Back then, they were both hovering around 50, already considered old guys, but Django and Jimmie arrives 32 years after that record, when there's no question that the pair are old-timers. Appropriately enough, mortality is on their minds throughout Django and Jimmie, a record whose very title is taken from Willie and Merle's childhood idols. It's a song that seems like a confession, as does the casual admission that they didn't think they'd "Live This Long," but neither Nelson nor Haggard wrote this, nor the title track or the album's first single, the near-novelty "It's All Going to Pot."