Martial Solal & Stéphane Grappelli: Nuages
Recorded: Paris, February 17-18, 1980
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
Both are internationally known historical figures of French jazz. Each played with Django Reinhardt: Grappelli on their famed prewar recordings, Solal on Django's final 1953 studio session (where the Gypsy genius used an electric guitar). But they had never played together on record. What was to be expected from such a late meeting, taking place more than a quarter of a century after Django's death? The best! And it's obvious from the piano intro on. Solal wrote a dreamy impressionistic prelude to one of Django's most famous tunes, and when the violin enters on the theme itself, the piano alternates between this harmonic atmosphere, served by a beautiful touch, and a more rhythmic approach. Grappelli basically remains himself, halfway between a tradition that he comes from and a taste for innovation that has always been present in his improvisations and choice of partners. Solal also remains himself, playing around both the violin and the theme with respect towards each. He obviously has ventured farther from tradition than his elder, but his style is deeply rooted and can be highly melodic, as this track beautifully demonstrates.
Reviewer: Thierry QuÃ©num