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NDR 60 Years Jazz Edition No. 3 - Stephane Grappelli EnsembleMono
On the 17th of May 1957 StÉphane Grappelli came to Hamburg for a recording session with a quartet in Studio 1 of the Norddeutscher Rundfunk radio broadcaster. From today's perspective the trip was a rare event for the then 49-year-old jazz musician, because from the end of the 1940s until the mid-1960s he was rarely to be found in a recording studio anywhere, even though he was already one of the world's best jazz violinists. His studio absence is particularly puzzling given that up to his death on the 1st of December 1997 he was probably one of the most recorded violinists in the history of music of the 20th century. But from this roughly 15-year period there is actually just a handful of released recordings by and with StÉphane Grappelli.
For the jazz violinist the years before making his trip to Hamburg in 1957 were a time of upheaval and change which left a "gap" in Grappelli's CV and discography. There are several reasons for this. One of them lies in the technical developments of the time. Music became louder. Electric guitars, improved microphones and the voluminous sound, in particular of the brass section, also led to a broadening of the dynamic spectrum in jazz. With its delicate acoustics it was difficult for a violin to assert itself against the other instruments without amplification. Before coming to Hamburg, Grappelli had already started experimenting with various pick-up systems. But he was generally dissatisfied with the results because the electrification of his instrument had an excessively alienating effect on the unique timbre of the violin and the ambience was lost. This is why he often preferred a chamber music setting in the recording studio, as this gave him the best acoustic results with just a simple microphone.
Another reason was of a personal nature. On the 16th of May 1953 the Manouche guitarist "Django" Reinhardt died. The death of his long-time friend and musical companion had deeply wounded StÉphane Grappelli. He rarely spoke about this loss. When he did, then he spoke about the years between 1934 and 1939, when they both fronted the now legendary Quintette du Hot Club de France. It was the countless recordings with this band that earned Grappelli and Reinhardt their reputation as "legends" of early European jazz. Here and in the USA: with the then so popular Hot Jazz which the pair mixed from the very beginning of their percussionless band with the Musette waltzes typical of French dance music and the music of the Manouches, the French Gypsies.
When the Second World War broke out on the 1st of September 1939, the Quintette du Hot Club de France was on tour in England. While one, Reinhardt, returned to his homeland of France, the other, Grappelli, remained in London. In his English exile the violinist became acquainted with George Shearing. An encounter with consequences. Because Grappelli - who had taught himself to play the violin as a youth before going to study classical violin at the venerable Conservatoire de Paris, after which, like many musicians of the time, he earned his livelihood playing with dance orchestras in the French capital - was always interested in being part of new musical developments. With the blind pianist who was more than ten years younger and his concept of block chords, Grappelli was given the opportunity to learn what was for him an unknown harmonic language in jazz.
But above all, up to the late 1950s Grappelli was still working on perfecting his instrumental skills. While his solo choruses on the violin with the Quintette du Hot Club de France mainly involved intensifying ornamentations, tension-escalating vibrati, glissandi and tremoli, short fill-ups and improvised melodic phrases, in the years after the end of the war he expanded the range of forms of expression on his instrument. He was inspired, for example, by the "Bel Canto" playing of the classical violin virtuosos, taught himself different type of bow strokes, and learned an unusual grip technique for the violin in order to be able to fly over the strings with the minimum of pressure. But above all he emotionalised his sound using a technique with which he preceded the played notes with a glissando from below.
StÉphane Grappelli's visit to Studio 1 at the Norddeutscher Rundfunk in Hamburg in 1957 was then indeed a stroke of luck. Because on this day he had for the first time the complete repertoire of forms of expression on the violin which made him the style-forming jazz musician who earned the admiration even of instrumentalists in other genres such as the great classical violinist Yehudi Menuhin. At the same time, his tone and phrasing still had the vitality and virility of his younger years with the Quintette du Hot de France in the 1930s. And even more: In 1957 he was able to build a bridge with his violin between the swinging grandezza of the US jazz musicians and the great tradition of European music.
A major factor in making the recording session in Studio 1 of the NDR a field of experimentation for Grappelli was his rhythm group. This included his twenty-years-younger compatriot, the pianist Maurice Vander, and the two Germans Hans Last on the contra bass (yes, you've read it correctly: years later "Hans" was to become "James" Last) and Rolf Ahrens on percussion. With delicate harmony and colourful melody the three musicians cleared the ground for their leader to experiment with his violin: with his soft and broad legato bowing technique, for example, which allowed him to achieve such naturally swinging phrasing, particularly in the ballads and mid-tempo numbers, as the great US saxophonists at the time, with his sharp pizzicato which gave his solo choruses a dynamically differentiated energy level, or with his sensational flageolet tones in preparation for the climaxes of his improvisations.
Even though at first glance the repertoire recorded in Hamburg with its mixture of songs from the "Great American Songbook" ("St. Louis Blues" for example, or "Lady Be Good" and "The Lady Is A Tramp") and pieces, for example, by Django Reinhardt (in particular "Manoir De Mes Rêves" and "Nuages") appeared to offer little spectacular, in its natural and self-evident way this studio session was an illustration of what was to be Grappelli's life-long guiding principle: "Jazz is all about feeling: It is a matter of the heart", as he once summarised it in simple words "It is only when you have the feeling that the music happens as if by itself."LP1
1. Autumn In New York
2. Jeepers Creepers
3. These Foolish Things
4. She's Funny That Way
6. It Might As Well Be Spring
7. Hambourg Souvenir
8. Vours qui passez sans me voir
9. Lady Be Good
10. A Flower Is A Love-Some Thing
1. I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me
2. Manoir de mes reves
3. How About You?
4. The Lady Is A Tramp
5. St. Louis Blues
6. A Girl In Calico
7. I'll Remember April
8. Blue Moon
9. How High The Moon
10. Pennies From Heaven$37.99Vinyl LP Mono - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Yerba Buena BounceExceptional 200-gram deluxe vinyl pressing. Deluxe gatefold jackets crafted by Stoughton Printing. With Yerba Buena Bounce, its 10th album, The Hot Club of San Francisco confirms its reputation as America's longest-running and finest Gypsy Jazz ensemble. Inspired explorations of Django Reinhardt's tunes, originals and more, are captured in shimmering sound. The Hot Club of San Francisco is a quintet of accomplished and versatile musicians who celebrate Django Reinhardt's and Stephane Grappelli's renowned Hot Club de France. The ensemble borrows the all-string instrumentation of three guitars, violin and bass from the original Hot Club but breathes new life into the music with innovative arrangements of classic tunes and original compositions from the group's superb lead guitarist, Paul Mehling. Hearing the ensemble takes the listener back to the 1930s and to the small, smoky jazz clubs of Paris. Mandolinist David Grisman, father of Dawg music and good friend of The Hot Club, makes a special guest appearance on two tracks. The set is further enhanced by bandoneon virtuoso Seth Asarno. Two bonus tracks feature the quintet augmented by three Dixieland horns.
Recorded by multi-Grammy-nominated Prof. Keith Johnson at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California, the Yerba Buena Bounce sessions benefited from the historic ambience, scene of hundreds of classic jazz and rock recordings. Using his own custom-built microphones and electronics (as always), Johnson was able to utilize some of Fantasy's unique facilities, such as a legendary echo chamber, to add luster to his always life-like soundscapes.1. Mystery Pacific
2. Hot Lips
3. I'm Happy Just To Dance With You
5. Number Two
6. Souvenir de Villingen
7. Tickle Toe
8. Black and White
9. Rythme Futur
11. Yerba Buena Bounce
14. Georgia Cabin
15. Improvisation #2
16. JAM: Some Of These Days$49.99200 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl 45RPM LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Duets (Pre-Order)Mastered From The Original Master Tapes By Joe Gastwirt Mastering
Lacquer Cut By Kevin Gray At Cohearant Audio
Plated And Pressed On 200-Gram Vinyl At Quality Record Pressings
Stoughton Printing Gatefold Tip-on Heavyweight Cardboard Jacket
It took a bass player to return vocals to their proper place on Duets - a record that's a model of simplicity. On the tracks on this LP you'll find Rob Wasserman's bass, and another voice. The result is a charming collection of duets featuring bassist Wasserman joined by special guests Aaron Neville, Rickie Lee Jones, Bobby McFerrin, Lou Reed, Jennifer Warnes, Dan Hicks, Cheryl Bentyne and Stephane Grappelli. The experimental release pairs the human voice with the bass guitar, resulting in a collection of unique and soulful material.
Unlike much of current music, where vocals are squelched and compression molded into something of an afterthought, Wasserman sought to create on Duets a music record - without technology interfering. It's kinda like being in a club. It lets you get closer to the song, Wasserman says.
Not surprisingly, Duets ranks among the most breathtaking collections of popular songs issued in the 1980s.
This title is not eligible for discount.1. Stardust (Aaron Neville)
2. The Moon Is Made Of Gold (Rickie Lee Jones)
3. Brothers (Bobby McFerrin)
4. Duet - Featuring Rob Wasserman (Rob Wasserman)
5. One For My Baby (And One More For The Road) (Lou Reed)
6. Ballad Of The Runaway Horse (Jennifer Warnes)
7. Gone With The Wind (Dan Hicks)
8. Angel Eyes (Cheryl Bentyne)
9. Over The Rainbow (Stephane Grappelli)$34.99200 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed PRE-ORDER Buy Now
$24.99 $19.99 Save $5.00 (20%)
Paul Simon (On Sale)If any musical justification were needed for the breakup of Simon & Garfunkel, it could be found on this striking collection, Paul Simon's post-split debut. From the opening cut, Mother and Child Reunion (a Top Ten hit), Simon, who had snuck several subtle musical explorations into the generally conservative S&G sound, broke free, heralding the rise of reggae with an exuberant track recorded in Jamaica for a song about death. From there, it was off to Paris for a track in South American style and a rambling story of a fisherman's son, Duncan (which made the singles chart). But most of the album had a low-key feel, with Simon on acoustic guitar backed by only a few trusted associates (among them Joe Osborn, Larry Knechtel, David Spinozza, Mike Manieri, Ron Carter, and Hal Blaine, along with such guests as Stefan Grossman, Airto Moreira, and Stephane Grappelli), singing a group of informal, intimate, funny, and closely observed songs (among them the lively Top 40 hit Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard). It was miles removed from the big, stately ballad style of Bridge Over Troubled Water and signaled that Simon was a versatile songwriter as well as an expressive singer with a much broader range of musical interests than he had previously demonstrated. You didn't miss Art Garfunkel on Paul Simon, not only because Simon didn't write Garfunkel-like showcases for himself, but because the songs he did write showed off his own, more varied musical strengths.
- William Ruhlmann (All Music Guide)
This title is not eligible for further discount.1. Mother and Child Reunion
3. Everything Put Together Falls Apart
4. Run That Body Down
5. Armistice Day
6. Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard
7. Peace Like a River
8. Papa Hobo
9. Hobo's Blues
10. Paranoia Blues
11. Congratulations$24.99 $19.99 Save $5.00 (20%)180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
$49.99 $44.99 Save $5.00 (10%)
Jerry Garcia And David Grisman (Awaiting Repress) (On Sale)
Numbered Limited Edition 180g 2LP from Mobile Fidelity
Contemporary Interest in Roots Music Kick-Started by Stellar Grammy-Nominated 1991 Collaboration
Recording Now As Realistic, Natural, Close-Up, Intimate, and Enveloping as Any Acoustic Record Released: 1st Time-Ever on LP
Garcia and Grisman Put on Virtuosic Performance, Make Way Through Pop Standards, Blues Classics, Folk Staples, Bluegrass Jaunts, and More
Jerry Garcia achieved monumental accomplishments over a prolific career, yet the guitarist never sounded better than on his first official collaboration with longtime friend and fellow instrumental maestro David Grisman. Indeed, contemporary interest in roots music can be directly traced to this stellar Grammy-nominated 1991 collaboration. Putting distinctive rustic spins on pop standards, blues classics, and folk staples, the kindred musical spirits' earnest authenticity and relaxed intimacy are matched only by virtuosic playing and superb production. As realistic, warm, close-up, and immersive as any acoustic album, Mobile Fidelity's reissue raises the bar on the meaning of reference-standard.
Mastered from the original master tapes, Mobile Fidelity's 180g 2LP of Garcia/Grisman takes a record forever renowned for breathtaking sonics to another level. Originally released on Grisman's fabled Acoustic Disc label and recorded at his plush studios, the album now sounds even more realistic-with distinctive tones, palpable air, smooth vocals, three-dimensional soundstaging, balanced imaging, and timbral extension that mirror the feeling and experience of hearing live music in a small space.
Unadorned with any post-production tricks or overdubs, Garcia/Grisman breathes with naturalism and presence. You will effortlessly detect the full body of the instruments, witness the woody grain textures, and get lost in the surprisingly velvety qualities of Garcia's lullaby-like singing. Mobile Fidelity's meticulous pressing also marks the first time this delightfully joyous affair has been issued in analog form. You will never hear a better-sounding Americana-styled recording.
Pals since the mid-1960s, Garcia and Grisman bonded over their love for traditional folk and bluegrass. The two teamed up amidst what became a gold rush of top-notch productivity and creativity for Garcia. Partnering with bassist Jim Kerwin and percussionist/fiddler Joe Craven, the pair approaches every passage with innate ease, as if either musician could finish the others sentence. The affable chemistry and soothing interplay wash over a selection of songs as notable for their diversity as the way Garcia and "Dawg" turn them into the equivalent of old friends you haven't seen in years.
Exquisite melodies and jewel-shaped notes decorate the simple, convivial structures of tunes that hop, jump, skip, skitter, and bop. The atmosphere is reminiscent of the legendary gypsy-jazz exchanges between Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, and equally sharp. Swirling with Middle Eastern modality, the closing 16-minute-plus rendition of Grisman's rippling "Arabia"-complete with a section based on a Cuban fold theme-is alone enough worth the price of admission to this sensational session. But there's so much more.
The quartet delves into Celtic themes ("Two Soldiers"), jazz-grass ("Grateful Dawg"), old-world ballads ("Russian Lullaby"), and Appalachian flavors ("Walkin' Boss") with nonpareil skill and soulfulness. Garcia and Grisman's tandem picking throughout epitomize sublime. And for many listeners, the duo's revised version of the Grateful Dead staple "Friend of the Devil" ranks as the finest-ever recorded, the pace patient, the narrative vocals heartfelt, and the synchronous solos tailor-made for the enveloping progression. Better yet, it's all captured in astonishing fidelity.
This title is not eligible for further discount.1. The Thrill Is Gone
2. Grateful Dawg
3. Two Soldiers
4. Friend of the Devil
5. Russian Lullaby
6. Dawg's Waltz
7. Walkin' Boss
8. Rockin' Chair
9. Arabia$49.99 $44.99 Save $5.00 (10%)180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
First Pressing Of 750 Numbered Copies On 180 Gram Chocolate Brown Vinyl, Black Vinyl Thereafter
First Time On Vinyl
Chocolat is the 2000 British-American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Lasse Hallström (The Cider House Rules) starring Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench and Johnny Depp. The movie was adapted from the novel written by Joan Harris, and is about a woman and her daughter opening a chocolate shop - with Sunday hours - across the street from the local church in a small French village.
The music is composed by Rachel Portman and the soundtrack also includes Minor Swing from Django Reinhardt/StÉphane Grappelli and the 1936 jazz standard Caravan from Duke Ellington and Juan Tizol.
Rachel Portman has written over 100 music scores for film, television and theatre. She was also the first female composer to win an Academy Award in the category of Best Musical or Comedy Score for Emma in 1996 and in 2015 she received the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition for the HBO TV series Bessie.1. Minor Swing (Django Reinhardt/StÉphane Grappelli)
2. Chocolat: Main Titles
3. The Story Of Grandmere
4. Vianne Sets Up Shop
5. Three Women
6. Vianne Confronts The Comte
7. Other Possibilities
8. Guillaume's Confession
9. Passage Of Time
10. Boycott Immorality
11. Party Preparations
12. Chocolate Sauce
14. Vianne Gazes At The River
15. Mayan Bowl Breaks
16. Taste Of Chocolate
17. Ashes To The Wind / Roux Returns
18. Caravan (Duke Ellington/Juan Tizol)$42.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now