Wednesday, April 8, 2015

G = Grappelli, Stéphane - French Faves, A to Z Challenge 2015

He rests now in Pere Lachaise Cemetery, the best French jazz violinist that these ears have heard, Stéphane Grappelli. 

Jazz Greats - Reinhardt and Grappelli, WC and YouTube Images

G = Grappelli, Stéphane

Born January 26, 1908 and deceased as of December 1, 1997, Stéphane Grappelli founded the Quintette du Hot Club of France with Gypsy Jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt in 1934. Grappelli had met Django in 1931, when he was looking for a violinist interested in jazz. They played together for a time until interrupted by the war. 

In 1949, Reinhardt and Grappelli (a sample) reunited and made a series of recordings. Half of the 50 tracks made at that time were later compiled for the album, Djangology. Grappelli continued playing concerts around the world well into his 80's. He is an inductee of the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame.

Grappelli played on hundreds of recordings with many famous musicians, including Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson, Yehudi Menuhin, Paul Simon, and Bucky Pizzarelli. 

We saw him perform in a small venue, the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver, when he was in his 60's. He was stunning in his virtuosity and the energy his music conveyed. There are other exceptional jazz violinists, but Grappelli just happens to be my favorite.

Interesting Note: according to Wikipedia, Grappelli's father was a writer/scholar/contributor to many journals and he wrote an article about the famous American dancer, Isadora Duncan. For a short time, she watched over the young Stéphane at her dance school, until war forced her to leave France. Grappelli's funereal plaque is located in the same area as Isadora Duncan's in Pere Lachaise crematorium. I saw them both when visiting the famous cemetery.

Are you familiar with Stéphane Grappelli and his music? Or have you heard of Django, the jazz guitarist? (no, not Django Unchained. . .)

Please leave a comment to let me know you stopped by, and if you are part of the A to Z Challenge. I'll be sure to check your blog, and reciprocate. If you're not in the challenge, thanks for stopping by to visit! I try to reply to all comments.

The A to Z Blog Challenge is brainchild of Lee, at Tossing It Out.  Please visit the A to Z blog site to find out more information and the participant list.  There are also Twitter and Facebook presences if you want to check those!

Stéphane Grappelli, Wiki 

Youtube sample - Grappelli and Django Reinhardt