Stéphane Grappelli: Body and Soul


Body and Soul



Jazz in Paris: Improvisations (Verve 549242)

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Stéphane Grappelli (violin),

Maurice Vander (piano), Pierre Michelot (bass), Baptiste “Mac Kac” Reilles (drums)


Composed by Johnny Green and Edward Heyman


Recorded: Paris, April 10, 1956


Rating: 97/100 (learn more)

Stéphane Grappelli's career flew a bit under the radar in the 1950s, although he toured Europe and England and regularly played club, hotel and cabaret dates. A first American tour with Django Reinhardt was planned in 1953, but Stéphane could not locate the elusive Gypsy and then learned that Django had died of a stroke. This track from 1956 shows Grappelli in top form, and as masterful as ever on a ballad. His embellished reading of the melody recalls Coleman Hawkins to some extent, but the gracefully structured lines and gorgeous tone are uniquely his own. Stéphane seasons his solo with a speck of dissonance here and there, and some characteristic swoops into the upper register. For contrast he also speeds up some of his runs, displaying impressive technique while doing so. Pianist Vander's understated accompaniment adds just the right touch.

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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