Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Rough Guide to Gypsy Swing [World Music Network, 2004]
Django Reinhardt towers so high over this style that he takes four of 21 tracks on a multi-artist comp with no other repeats, and wrote two others. Maybe "Gypsy swing" isn't a style at all--just a bunch of tribute bands. Yet its master proves far easier to emulate than Jimi Hendrix or Jerry Garcia, in part because his followers bypass his excitable youth for the sophisticated background music of his post-WW II decline. Reinhardt was one of the first to welcome bebop's harmonic challenge while finessing its cultural threat--which makes him the kind of artist whose imitators segue smoothly from cut to cut on a collection like this one. B+