Stéphane Grappelli & Gary Burton: Falling Grace
Paris Encounter (DBK Works 504)
Bill Goodwin (drums).
Composed by Steve Swallow.
Recorded: Paris, November 4, 1969
Rating: 97/100 (learn more)
This was a match made in heaven. The young Gary Burton was touring Europe and the then 64-year-old Stéphane Grappelli was performing regularly at the Hilton Hotel in Paris when Atlantic Records recorded them. Stéphane and Gary are both lyrical players, romantic and delicate on ballads, but capable of playing with an edge and an ecstatic propulsion at quicker tempos. Both also make their formidable technique subservient to their expressiveness, with no wasted notes or unfocused flashiness. Steve Swallow's rhapsodic "Falling Grace," which he wrote for Bill Evans, was a perfect vehicle for Grappelli and Burton to react and interact. Swallow's booming basslines are also worth noting, anchoring the group's overall sound. The year 1969 was a turning point for Grappelli, as he also had recorded meetings that year with Joe Venuti and Barney Kessel, and visited the U.S. for the first time to perform at the Newport Jazz Festival (albeit in the rain and while oblivious youngsters rioted around him). He never looked back, and went on to finally become an international star.
Reviewer: Scott Albin