This is Django Reinhardt during the war years, without the services of perennial partner Stephane Grappelli and leading a large band in Paris (Grappelli would return for stretches after the war). Even sans his friend's simpatico violin, Reinhardt is still impressive on these 21 quality sides, picking nicely throughout. Heavy on his own material, set highlights include a two-part "Improvisation No. 3," "Belleville," and "Douce Ambiance." The sound remains anchored in Reinhardt's earlier Hot Club days of the late '30s, touched by a bluesier-than-normal strain and some hardened swing. A nice bet for dedicated listeners.