For this 1961 concert in Paris, the "Godfather of the Jazz Violin" starts on the piano. Indeed, Stéphane Grappelli was much more than an exciting fiddleman – a pioneer, multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, and prolific recording artist, he had huge impact on the jazz world. It was back in 1934 that he founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France alongside his long-time partner, Django Reinhardt. One of the first all-string jazz bands, their influence on the genre spread far and wide, with American icons like Coleman Hawkins and Duke Ellington drawing influence from their sound.
Yet, by the post-war years, with Django focusing more on bebop and modern jazz until his premature death in 1954, Grappelli had less and less opportunity to record, despite being the best swing violinist of his generation. Never drawn to the bebop style, he instead focused on the music he loved, and remained a sought-after sideman and a dedicated musician well into his eighties.
Here, he is joined by the great painter-drummer Daniel Humair, the guitarist-composer Léo Petit, the prolific sideman Guy Pedersen on bass and virtuoso guitarist Pierre Cullaz. Together, they deliver a repertoire that twirls back through the years with "Nuage" and "Minor Swing" referencing Grappelli's link to Django Reinhardt as well as covers of Ray Charles, Jimmy Davis and "Lady Be Good," by George and Ira Gershwin.