Thursday, January 26, 2017

Stephane Grappelli: Jazz Meets The Violin

Earlier this week we commemorated the birth of the renowned gypsy guitarist, Django Reinhardt. Today we remember the birthday of the jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli who with Reinhardt formed the Quintette du Hot Club de France in the early 1930's. Like his friend, Django, 

Quintette du Hot Club de France                                                                              Paris, 1937

Grappelli was a self taught musician who developed a unique playing style that would have broad influence in the worlds of jazz and popular music. Fortunately, much of that influence was direct as he outlived Reinhardt by nearly fifty years and performed with perfection almost to the end of his life on December 1, 1997. He loved people almost as much as he loved music and brought his jovial, upbeat personality and style to audiences young and old, large and small, performing both solo and with many of the jazz greats of the twentieth century.

File:Stephane Grappelli Allan Warren.jpg
Portrait of Stephane Grappelli London                                 Allan Warren 1976

One would think that a jazz virtuoso would be well known in the country that birthed the genre but he was little known in the United States even after thirty years of success in Europe. His American debut in 1969 brought him wide publicity and the international "rediscovery" that followed kept him on tour before adoring audiences for almost three decades. 


Photos and Illustration:

Text:, Nigel Kennedy article, December 19, 2007, Stephane Grappelli obituary, December 2, 1997

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