At the end of the ’60s, two French enthusiasts sought out the last living classic jazz musicians and urged them out of retirement to come to France to record. These sessions, along with similar blues sessions, were released on the Black & Blue label. Now, 30 years later, these recordings are being brought out of the vaults and re-released by the Night & Day label.
These duets between the great jazz violinist Stephane Grap-pelli and American bebop guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli were recorded in 1979. Grappelli’s powers certainly had not faded; he played with a consistent swing and sweetness. And though he was no Django Reinhardt, Pizzarelli’s chord melody solos prove an ideal foil for the violinist.
The music here is intimate and warm and enchanting. The duo play through jazz standards such as “My Blue Heaven” and “Tea for Two” with affection and joy. To make this set “definitive,” however, alternate takes, false starts, and dialogue between the producers and musicians interrupt the mood set by the violin and electric guitar. But that’s a small price to pay for the quality of music created by these two legends.
This review originally appeared in VG‘s Jan. ’00 issue.