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The Best of the Jazz Violins

Stéphane Grappelli & Joes Venuti

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Album Review

This LRC budget release includes two unrelated sessions from a pair of the greatest jazz violinists: Joe Venuti and Stephane Grappelli. Venuti is heard in 1971 with pianist Lou Stein and a pair of Italian musicians (bassist Marco Ratti and drummer Gil Cuppini) performing "The Hot Canary" (a novelty piece) and six familiar standards including "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "Tea for Two." Grappelli is caught in 1975 jamming his "Sysmo," Bud Powell's "Parisian Thoroughfare," and five older songs in a quartet with guitarist Jimmy Shirley, pianist Johnny Guarnieri, and bassist Slam Stewart. No real surprises occur, but the violinists are in fine form. These two sessions are a bit rare and worth searching for by fans of swing violinists.

Biography

Born: January 26, 1908 in Paris, France

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

One of the all-time great jazz violinists (ranking with Joe Venuti and Stuff Smith as one of the big three of pre-bop), Stéphane Grappelli's longevity and consistently enthusiastic playing did a great deal to establish the violin as a jazz instrument. He was originally self-taught as both a violinist and a pianist, although during 1924-28 he studied at the Paris Conservatoire. Grappelli played in movie theaters and dance bands before meeting guitarist Django Reinhardt in 1933. They hit it off musically...
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