This is the Reinhardt mother lode – a six-disc collection of the Gypsy legend's oeuvre stretching from just before to just after World War II. Disc one includes several infectious cuts with vocalist Freddy Taylor, beginning with Stuff Smith's "I'se a Muggin'." Disc six closes with one of Reinhardt and Grappelli's last recording sessions together, which included an unusually dark reading of "Oh Lady Be Good" and a revisitation of the obscure "Bricktop" (the first version appears on disc two). In between are well over 100 marvelous tracks, with sound quality up to Mosaic's (and Michael Cuscuna's) impeccable standards. The booklet contains a learned essay and annotation by Mike Peters, as well as an impressive gallery of photographs, concert posters, and news clippings. Extraordinary, and for Reinhardt's most devoted fans, entirely worth the investment.
The sixth of RKO's Fred Astaire -Ginger Rogers pairings of the 1930s, Swing Time starts off with bandleader Astaire getting cold feet on his wedding day. Astaire's bride-to-be Betty Furness will give him a second chance, providing he proves himself responsible enough to earn $25,000. Astaire naturally tries to avoid earning that amount once he falls in love with dance instructor Ginger Rogers. Numerous complications ensue, leading to the "second time's the charm" climax, with Ginger escaping her own wedding to wealthy Georges Metaxa in order to be reunited with Astaire. The film's most indelible image is that of Fred Astaire, immaculately attired in top hat and tails, hopping a freight car–a perfect encapsulation of the film's Depression-era cheekiness. The Jerome Kern-Dorothy Fields score includes such standards-to-be as "Pick Yourself Up," "A Fine Romance," "The Way You Look Tonight," "Never Gonna Dance" and "Bojangles of Harlem."