egroj world: Stephane Grappelli • Improvisations - Piano a Gogo

domingo, 29 de abril de 2018

Stephane Grappelli • Improvisations - Piano a Gogo

In the winter of 1950/51 Stephane Grappelli was playing piano in Nice at the Hotel d'Angleterre, and in 1953 he joined Henri Crolla's ensemble as both pianist and violinist. If his talents as a pianist have rarely been mentioned, it's because his piano recordings are exceedingly rare. This was partly Art Tatum's fault Stephane discovered the genius one afternoon in 1935, on the beach at Le Touquet, where the local council had installed some loudspeakers. That incredible music, and Tatum's unimaginable virtuosity, left a lasting mark on him (Grappelli was so impressed that for a moment he thought he was hearing two pianists!), a mark that made him lose his enthusiasm for the piano, and concentrate on the violin instead. Actually, Grappelli thought that this "Piano à gogo" record was a mistake ("Someone asked me to do it" he said). But we're entitled to a different opinion; this album allows us to understand how he could so easily take on the piano roles he'd been known for. At times, this record even sounds very 'musique d'ambiance', in the best sense of the term: it brings an atmosphere that has an imprint of softness, yet never once becomes overly sentimental (as on Wendy, for example, where you can imagine the pianist in a club, picking out each note in the small hours of the morning after all the customers have left.) There's the influence of Art Tatum, too, in Crazy Blues, which shows how much Grappelli admired him, but the recording also shows his taste for the music of Ravel and Debussy, which transpire in the lyricism and romance of his playing revitalised by swing. Grappelli might not be the virtuoso he so obviously is with a violin, but the fluidity is still there in his piano; everything flows naturally, "Like the spontaneity and freedom of water finding its natural path" (Geoffrey Smith). With the piano he preserves the same swing, the same harmonic qualities, and his talent for bringing out a melody. This love of the piano also transpires in his violin-playing; guitarist Ike Isaacs, who accompanied him in the mid-Seventies, nicknamed him "the violin's pianist, because "he thinks vertically and horizontally at the same time."

1 - The Lady Is a Tramp - 3:05
2 - Fascinating Rhythm - 2:55
3 - Dans La Vie - 3:54
4 - Cheek to Cheek - 3:10
5 - A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square - 3:11
6 - Taking a Chance on Love - 3:02
7 - 'S Wonderful - 2:30
8 - Someone to Watch Over Me - 2:59
9 - If I Had You - 3:20
10 - Body and Soul - 2:35
11 - I Want to Be Happy - 2:14
12 - She's Funny That Way - 2:29
13 - Time After Time - 2:43
14 - Just One of Those Things - 2:33
15 - Lookin' at You [*] - 3:44
16 - Vous Qui Passez Sans Me Voir [*] - 3:51
17 - Marno [*] - 2:46
18 - Wendy [*] - 4:50
19 - Crazy Blues [*] - 2:47
20 - Tendrement [*] - 3:46
21 - Valse du Passe [*] - 2:20
22 - I Can't Regonise the Tune [*] - 3:28
23 - Viens au Creux de Mon Epaule [*] - 2:52
24 - Red-O-Rey [*] - 2:54

 - Stephane Grappelli - violin
 - Maurice Vander - Harpsichord, Piano
 - Pierre Michelot - bass
 - Baptiste "Mac Kac" Reilles - drums

Piano a Gogo:
 - Stephane Grappelli - piano
 - Guy Pedersen - bass
 - Baptiste "Mac Kac" Reilles - drums

Album: Improvisations/Piano a Gogo
Label: Universal Music S.A.S. France
Recorded: 1954 and 1956 Paris
Genre: Jazz
Time: 74:08 min

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