An elegant improviser whose lilting lines are imbued with a vivacious spirit of swing and tender lyricism, legendary violinist Stephane Grappelli had a long and distinguished career that began in the mid '30s with the Hot Club of France Quintet (featuring Gypsy jazz guitar great Django Reinhardt) and continued well into the 1990s. An inductee in the Down Beat Hall of Fame, Grappelli received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 1997. The influential Parisian jazzman, who was 68 at the time of this Great American Music Hall concert, is accompanied by UK guitarists and ardent Django-philes Diz Disley and Ike Isaacs and American bassist Brian Torff on this set of Swing era staples. And the grand old man of violin is in vintage form throughout the set.
Following some humorous introductory remarks from Disley (including a dis of Chicago and a putdown of electric basses by way of introducing upright bassist Torff), they jump into a lively take on Jimmy McHugh's jaunty "I Can't Believe You're in Love with Me," a tune introduced in 1927 by Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards (the voice of Jiminy Cricket in the 1940 Disney film classic, Pinocchio) and later popularized by Billie Holiday. Grappelli's violin work here is dazzling and coy at the same time, full of elaborate curlicues and imbued with an undeniable sense of swing. Isaacs' guitar solo is sadly off-mic and, therefore, barely audible (unfortunate since the rest of the mix here is so resonant and brimming with rich, even tones). From that snappy opener they launch right into a bristling uptempo reading of the Richard Rodgers-Lorenz Hart number "This Can't Be Love" (from the 1938 Broadway musical The Boys from Syracuse). The violin maestro nonchalantly double times the lines here while digging into his fiddle with rare abandon on this unbridled swinger. Disley's guitar solo here is strictly in a Djangoesque tradition.
From pure burn to sublime ballad, they segue to a tender rendition of the lov....... więcej