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Stphane Grappelli

Grappelli in 1976, by Allan Warren


Background information
Birth name Stfano Grappelli
Born 26 January 1908
Paris, France
Died 1 December 1997 (aged 89)
Paris, France
Genres Swing, continental jazz, Gypsy jazz
Occupations Musician
Instruments Violin, piano, saxophone, accordion
Associated
acts
Django Reinhardt, Quintette du Hot
Club de France, Yehudi Menuhin,
Oscar Peterson, David Grisman
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Stphane Grappelli (French pronunciation: [stefan apli]; 26
January 1908 1 December 1997) was a French jazz
violinist who founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France
with guitarist Django Reinhardt in 1934. It was one of the
first all-string jazz bands. He has been called "the
grandfather of jazz violinists" and continued playing
concerts around the world well into his 80s.
[1]
For the first three decades of his career, he was billed using a
gallicised spelling of his last name, Grappelly, reverting to
"Grappelli" in 1969. The latter, Italian, spelling is now used
almost universally when referring to the violinist even on
reissues of his early work.
1 Biography
1.1 Early years
1.2 Post-war
2 Personal life
3 Discography
3.1 Albums
3.2 Collaborations
4 References
5 Further reading
6 External links
Early years
Grappelli was born at Hpital Lariboisire in Paris, France, and was christened with the name Stfano. His
Italian father, marquess Ernesto Grappelli, was born in Alatri, Lazio, and his French mother, Anna Emilie
Hanoque, was from St-Omer. Ernesto was a scholar who taught Italian, sold translations, and wrote articles for
local journals.
[2]
Stfano's mother died when he was four, leaving his father to care for him. Though he was
living in France when World War I broke out, Ernesto was still an Italian citizen, and was drafted to fight in
1914. Ernesto had written an article about dancer Isadora Duncan during his time as a journalist, and turned to
her when he needed someone to care for his son. Stfano enrolled in Duncan's dance school at the age of six,
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and it was here that he learned to love French Impressionist music. With the war encroaching, Duncan was
forced to flee the country and turn over her chteau to be used as a military hospital.
[3]
Ernesto, having nowhere
else to turn to, entrusted Stfano to a Catholic orphanage. Grappelli is quoted I look back at it as an
abominable memoryThe Place was supposed to be under the eye of the government, but the government
looked elsewhere. We slept on the floor, and often were without food. There were many times when I had to
fight for a crust of bread, and claimed that he once tried eating flies as a means of easing his hunger.
[3]
Stfano
stayed at the orphanage until his father returned from the war in 1918 and brought him to live in an apartment in
Barbs. Ernesto was sickened by all things Italian after serving his time in the military, so, on July 28, 1919, he
brought Stfano to city hall, pulled two witnesses off the street, and had his son nationalized as a Frenchman.
[3]
Stfano was changed to Stphane.
Stphane began playing the violin at age 12 after his father pawned his suit to buy him a three-quarter size
violin. Ernesto sent his son to proper violin lessons, but Stphane preferred to learn on his own. Grappelli said
that "My first lessons were in the streets, watching how other violinists playedThe first violinist that I saw
play was at the Barbs mtro station, sheltered under the overhead metro tracks. When I asked how one should
play, he exploded in laugher. I left, completely humiliated with my violin under my arm.
[3]
After learning
independently for a brief period of time, Ernesto enrolled Stphane at the Conservatoire de Paris on December
31, 1920 where he would learn music theory, ear-training, and solfeggio; Stphane graduated in 1923 with a
second-tier medal.
[3]
Ernesto announced that he would be remarrying a woman by the name of Anna Fuchs and
moving to Strasbourg during Stphane's final year of schooling. Though he was invited to come with them,
Stphane chose to stay behind as he despised his father's new bride.
[3]
At the age of 15, Grappelli began busking full-time to support himself financially. Grappelli's playing caught
the attention of an elderly violinist who invited him to accompany silent films in the pit orchestra at the Thtre
Gaumont. Stphane played here for six hours every day over the course of a two-year period.
[4]
During
orchestra breaks, Grappelli would visit a local brasserie, Le Boudon, where he would listen to songs from an
American proto-jukebox. It was here that Grappelli was first introduced to jazz music. Stphane was playing in
the orchestra at the Ambassador in 1928 when Paul Whiteman headlined with Joe Venuti. Jazz violinists were
rare, and, though Venuti played mainly commercial jazz themes and seldom improvised, Grappelli was
intrigued by his bowing when he played Louis Armstrong's "Dinah."
[4]
This led Stphane to begin developing
his own jazz-influenced play style.
Grappelli was living with a classically trained violinist named Michel Warlop, and, while Warlop admired
Stphane's jazzy playing, Grappelli envied Warlop's income.
[4]
After experimenting with piano, he gave up
violin, choosing simplicity, new sound, and paid gigs over familiarity.
[4]
Stphane began playing piano in a big
band led by a musician who went by the name of Grgor. After a night of drinking in 1929, Grgor learned that
Grappelli had originally played violin. Grgor borrowed a violin and had Stphane improvise over "Dinah."
[5]
Grgor was delighted by Grappelli's jazz playing, and insisted that he begin playing violin once more.
In 1930, Grgor ran into financial trouble and was involved in a deadly automobile accident that forced him to
flee to South America to avoid arrest.
[5]
Grgor's band reunified as a true jazz ensemble under the leadership of
pianist Alain Romans and saxophonist Ekyan. It was while playing with this band that Stphane first met
Django Reinhardt in 1931. Django told Grappelli that he was looking for a violinist such as himself to play
with, and invited him to play at the caravan he was living in. Though the two played for hours that afternoon,
[6]
their commitments to their respective bands prevented them from pursuing a career together. Three years later,
in 1934, the two encountered each other at Claridge's, and it was then that their partnership truly began. Pierre
Nourry, the secretary of the Hot Club de France invited Reinhardt and Grappelli to form the Quintette du Hot
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Grappelli in 1991
Club de France with Joseph Reinhardt and Roger Chaput joining Django on guitar, and Louis Vola on bass.
[7]
In 1937, the American jazz singer Adelaide Hall opened a nightclub in Montmartre along with her husband Bert
Hicks and called it La Grosse Pomme. She entertained there nightly and hired the Quintette as one of the house
bands at the club.
[8]
Also in the neighborhood was the artistic salon of R-26, at which Grappelli and Reinhardt
performed regularly.
[9]
For the first three decades of his musical career, Grappelli was billed as Stphane
Grappelly. Grappelli's own explanation for the changed spelling was that he was tired of people mispronouncing
his last name as "Grappell-eye". His early fame came playing with the Quintette du Hot Club de France with
Django Reinhardt, which disbanded in 1939 at the outbreak of World War II. In 1940, a little-known jazz pianist
by the name of George Shearing made his debut as a sideman in Grappelli's band. Shearing went on to enjoy a
long career.
Post-war
In 1949, Reinhardt and Grappelli reunited for a brief tour of Italy, during
which time they made a series of recordings with an Italian rhythm
group. The two recorded roughly 50 tracks together during this time, and
about half of them would be later compiled for the album Djangology.
Grappelli appeared on hundreds of recordings including sessions with
Duke Ellington, jazz pianists Oscar Peterson, Michel Petrucciani and
Claude Bolling, jazz violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, jazz violinist Stuff Smith,
Indian classical violinist L. Subramaniam, vibraphonist Gary Burton,
pop singer Paul Simon, mandolin player David Grisman, classical
violinist Yehudi Menuhin, orchestral conductor Andr Previn, guitar
player Bucky Pizzarelli, guitar player Joe Pass, cello player Yo Yo Ma,
harmonica and jazz guitar player Toots Thielemans, jazz guitarist Henri
Crolla, bassist Jon Burr and fiddler Mark O'Connor. He also collaborated
extensively with the British guitarist and graphic designer Diz Disley,
recording 13 record albums with him and his trio (which included Denny
Wright in its early years), and with now renowned British guitarist
Martin Taylor. His Parisian trio of many years included guitarist Marc
Fosset and bassist Patrice Carratini.
Grappelli recorded a solo for the title track of Pink Floyd's 1975 album Wish You Were Here. This was made
almost inaudible in the mix, and so the violinist was not credited, according to Roger Waters, as it would be "a
bit of an insult".
[10]
A remastered version, with Grappelli's contribution fully audible, can be found on the 2011
Experience
[11]
& Immersion
[12]
versions of Wish You Were Here.
Grappelli made a cameo appearance in the 1978 film King of the Gypsies, along with noted mandolinist David
Grisman. Three years later they performed together in concert, which was recorded live and released to critical
acclaim.
In the 1980s he gave several concerts with the young British cellist Julian Lloyd Webber.
In 1997, Grappelli received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He is an inductee of the Down Beat
Jazz Hall of Fame.
He died in Paris after undergoing a hernia operation. He is buried in the city's Pre Lachaise Cemetery.
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Although he had a significant association with at least one woman, Grappelli was gay
[13][14][15][16][17]
and
never married.
[18]
In May 1935, after a brief affair with Sylvia Caro, a daughter was born whom they named Evelyne. Sylvia
remained in Paris for the duration of the war. Father and daughter were re-united in 1946 when Evelyne
travelled to London from France to stay with Grappelli for about a year.
[19]
Biographer Paul Balmer suggests that the love of Grappelli's life may have been an English beauty named
Gwendoline Turner. She was killed in London in 1941 during The Blitz. Grappelli cried intermittently for two
years after her death and kept a lock of her hair and an oil portrait of her hidden away for the rest of his life.
[20]
Albums
This list does not include all compilation releases.
Djangology: Django Reinhardt, the Gypsy Genius (1936 to 1940)
Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt the Gold Edition (1934 to 1937, copyright 1998)
Bill Coleman with Django and Stephane Grappelli 1936 to 1938 (released 1985, DRG Records)
Unique Piano Session Paris 1955 (1955, Jazz Anthology)
Improvisations (Paris, 1956)
Paris Encounter (Atlantic, 1969) with Gary Burton
Afternoon in Paris (1971, MPS)
Manoir de Mes Reves (1972, Musidisc)
Homage To Django (1972, released 1976 Classic Jazz)
Stephane Grappelli (1973, Pye 12115)
Black Lion at Montreux with the Black Lion Allstars (Black Lion Records BL-213, Recorded July 4,
1973)
Just one of those things! (1973 Black Lion Records) Recorded at the 1973 Montreaux Jazz festival
Stephane Grappelli - I Got Rhythm! (1974 Black Lion Records) with Diz Disley, Denny Wright and Len
Skeat recorded at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, 5 November 1973
Shades of Django (1975, MPS)
Satin Doll (1975, Vanguard)
Parisian Thoroughfare (with Roland Hanna, Mel Lewis & George Mraz, Arista/Freedom Records 1975)
The Rock Peter and the Wolf (1976 RSO Records) (2007 CD Verdant Records) with Jack Lancaster, Phil
Collins, Brian Eno, Keith Tippett, Julie Tippetts, Gary Brooker, Gary Moore, Alvin Lee, Manfred Mann
etc.
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Stephane Grappelli and Cordes (1977, Musidisc)
Live at Carnegie Hall (1978, Signature)
Uptown Dance (1978, Columbia)
Stephane Grappelli and Joe Venuti: Venupelli Blues (1979, Affinity)
Oscar Peterson Skol (1979, released 1990 Pablo)
Young Django (1979, MPS)
Sonny Lester Collection (1980, LRC)
Stephane Grappelli `80 (1980 Happy Bird)
Stephane Grappelli/David Grisman Live at Berklee (recorded September 20, 1979, Boston,
Massachusetts)
Diz Disley Live at Carnegie Hall (1983, Dr Jazz)
Vintage 1981 (1981, Concord)
Just One Of Those Things (1984, EMI Studios)
Grappelli Plays George Gershwin (1984, Musidisc)
Martin Taylor: We've Got The World on a String (1984, EMI)
Stuff Smith: Violins No End (1984, Pablo)
Fascinating Rhythm (1986, Jazz Life)
Live in San Francisco (1986, Blackhawk)
Classic Sessions: Stephane Grappelli, with Phil Woods and Louie Bellson (1987, RTV Communications
Group)
Stephane Grappelli Plays Jerome Kern (1987, GRP)
The Intimate Grappelli (1988, Jazz Life)
Steph'n'Us, with Don Burrows & George Golla (1988, Cherry Pie. Possibly Australia only)
How Can You Miss, with Louie Bellson and Phil Woods (1989, Rushmore)
Jean-Luc Ponty - Violin Summit (1989, Jazz Life)
Jazz 'Round Midnight (1989, Verve)
My Other Love (1991, Colombia)
Stephane Grappelli in Tokyo (1991, A & M records)
Bach to the Beatles (1991, Academy Sound)
Stephane Grappelli 1992 Live (1992, Verve)
Michel Legrand (1992, Verve)
Martin Taylor Reunion (1993, Linn Records)
Jazz Masters (20+-year compilation, 1994, Verve)
85 and Still Swinging (1993, Angel)
Stephane Grappelli Live at the Blue Note (1996, Telarc Jazz)
Crazy Rhythm (1996/2000, Pulse)
Parisian Thoroughfare (1997, Laserlight)
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Collaborations
Violin Summit: Stephane Grappelli, Stuff Smith, Svend Asmussen, Jean-Luc Ponty (1967, Polygram)
Stephane Grappelli and Earl Hines: Stephane Grappelli meets Earl Hines
Stephane Grappelli and Hubert Clavecin: Dansez Sur Vos Souvenirs (Musidisc)
Stephane Grappelli and Barney Kessel: Remember Django (1969, Black Lion)
Stephane Grappelli and Barney Kessel: Limehouse Blues (1972, Black Lion)
Stephane Grappelli and Gary Burton: Paris Encounter (1972, Atlantic)
Stephane Grapellli and Paul Simon: Paul Simon (9) 1972 Hobo's Blues (Columbia 1972)
Menuhin and Grappelli Play Berlin, Kern, Porter and Rodgers & Hart (1973 to 1985, EMI)
Stephane Grappelli and Oscar Peterson (1973, Musicdisc)
Stphane Grappelli and Baden Powell: La Grande Reunion (1974, Accord)
Stephane Grappelli and Yehudi Menuhin: Jalousie (1975, EMI)
Stephane Grappelli and Yehudi Menuhin: Fascinating Rhythm (Music of the 30's) (1975, EMI)
Stephane Grappelli and Bill Coleman: Stephane Grappelli/Bill Coleman (1976, Classic Jazz [CJ 24],
recorded in 1973)
Stephane Grappelli and The George Shearing Trio: The Reunion (1977, MPS)
Stephane Grappelli and Martial Solal (1980, MPO)
Stephane Grappelli and David Grisman Live (1981, Warner Brothers)
Stephane Grappelli with Marc Fosset Stephanova (Concord Jazz, 1983)
Stephane Grappeli with L Subramanian Conversations (1984)
Stephane Grappelli and Toots Thielemans: Bringing it Together (1984, Cymekob)
Stephane Grappelli and Helen Merrill (1986, Music Makers)
Stephane Grappelli and Vassar Clements: Together at Last (1987, Flying Fish)
Stephane Grappelli and Jean-Luc Ponty: Compact Jazz (1988, MPS)
Stephane Grappelli and Martial Solal: Olympia 1988 (1988, Atlantic)
Stephane Grappelli and Joe Venuti: Best of Jazz Violins (1989, LRC)
Stephane Grappelli and Yo Yo Ma: Anything Goes (1989)
Stephane Grappelli and McCoy Tyner; One on One (1990, Milestone)
Stephane Grappelli and Dr. L. Subramaniam: Conversations (1984, Milestone)
Stephane Grappelli and Claude Bolling: First Class (1992, Milan)
The Rosenberg Trio featuring Stphane Grappelli, Jan Akkerman & Frits Landesbergen: Caravan (1994,
Polydor BV)
Stephane Grappelli and Michel Petrucciani: Flamingo (Dreyfus 1996)
Stephane Grappelli, Carl Hession, Frankie Gavin, Marc Fosset: Frankie Gavin 20032004 Collection/The
Grappelli Era (2003)
Stphane Grappelli : Verve Jazz Masters 11
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^ Reuters obituary (http://www.cyberbites.com
/marleys_ghost/grappelliobit.html)
1.
^ Dregni, Michael (2004). Django: The Life and
Music of a Gypsy Legend. Oxford University Press.
p. 70. ISBN 0-19-516752-X.
2.
^
a

b

c

d

e

f
Dregni 2004, p. 71 3.
^
a

b

c

d
Dregni 2004, p. 72 4.
^
a

b
Dregni 2004, p. 73 5.
^ Dregni 2004, p. 74 6.
^ Dregni, Michael (2006). Django Reinhardt and the
Illustrated History of Gypsy Jazz. Speck Press.
pp. 4559. ISBN 978-1-933108-10-0.
7.
^ "Performer Adelaide Hall ..."
(http://midniteinparis.tumblr.com/post/9935090286
/performer-adelaide-hall-and-her-husband-manager).
7 September 2011. Midnite in Paris blog on tumblr.
Retrieved 8 June 2014.
8.
^ Grappelli, Stphane (1992). Mon Violon Pour Tout
Bagage. ditions Calmann-Lvy, Paris.
9.
^ The Piper (2002). A Rambling Conversation with
Roger Waters concerning all this and that
(http://www.pinkfloydfan.net
/showthread.php?t=1460). Retrieved July 9, 2005.
10.
^ Amazon UK Listing of Wish You Were Here
Experience Edition (http://www.amazon.co.uk
/gp/product/B004ZNAKLM
/ref=s9_simh_gw_p15_d1_g15_i4?pf_rd_m=A3P5R
OKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=center-
2&pf_rd_r=0PVTKEEPEJQQEGE0CX5D&
pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=467128533&pf_rd_i=468294)
11.
^ Amazon UK Listing of Wish You Were Here
Immersion Edition (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wish-
You-Were-Here-Immersion/dp/B004ZNAUVW
/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1329581761&
sr=1-1)
12.
^ Ake, David (2004). "Jazz" (http://books.google.com
/books?id=jWj5OBvTh1IC&pg=PA438). In Kimmel,
Michael; Aronson, Amy. Men and Masculinities 1.
ABC-CLIO. p. 438.
13.
^ Mnookin, Seth (December 21, 1999). "Sharps &
Flats" (http://www.salon.com/1999/12/21/reinhardt/).
Salon.
14.
^ Dregni 2004, p. 121. 15.
^ Coryell, Larry (2007). Improvising: My Life in
Music (http://books.google.com
/books?id=xdL3u5rSETQC). Hal Leonard
Corporation. p. 103. ISBN 978-0-8793-0826-1.
16.
^ Brace, Eric (December 5, 1997). "A Memorable
Evening With the Great Grappelli"
(http://articles.latimes.com/1997/dec/05/entertainment
/ca-60716). Washington Post.
17.
^ "Obituary: Stephane Grappelli"
(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/culture-
obituaries/music-obituaries/6672043/Stephane-
Grappelli.html). The Telegraph, 2 Dec 1997.
18.
^ Balmer, Paul (2003). Stphane Grappelli: With and
Without Django (http://books.google.ie
/books?id=IFUIAQAAMAAJ&
q=%22the+attention+of+a+young+French+girl+by+t
he+name+of+Sylvia+Caro%22&
dq=%22the+attention+of+a+young+French+girl+by+
the+name+of+Sylvia+Caro%22&hl=en&
sa=X&ei=1L6MU-muF8eM7AaBnoGQCQ&
ved=0CDEQ6AEwAA). Sanctuary. pp. 96, 142.
ISBN 9781860744532.
19.
^ Balmer. pp. 9, 128129. 20.
Balmer, Paul (2003). Stphane Grappelli: With and Without Django. London: Sanctuary Publishing.
Stphane Grappelli - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stphane_Grappelli
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ISBN 978-1-86074-453-2.
Grappelli, Stphane; Jean-Marc Bramy (2002). With Only My Violin: The Memoirs of Stphane Grappelli.
New York: Welcome Rain Publishers. ISBN 978-1-56649-151-8.
Smith, Geoffrey (1987). Stphane Grappelli: A Biography. London: M. Joseph.
ISBN 978-1-85145-012-1.
Obituary (http://www.cyberbites.com/marleys_ghost/grappelliobit.html)
Information on biography DVD (http://www.musiconearth.co.uk)
"Twelve Essential Stphane Grappelli Recordings" (http://www.jazz.com/dozens/the-dozens-twelve-
essential-stphane-grappelli-tracks) by Scott Albin at jazz.com.
"The Improviser " - 3-part series on Jazz Violinist Stphane Grappelli (http://www.adventuresinmusic.biz
/Archives/Music_Makers/Grappelli1.htm) on AdventuresInMusic.biz, 2004
Stphane Grappelli (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsdIj_rqc3U) on YouTube TV appearance
"My Other Love" - the piano (http://www.reynard.eu/malcolm/recordings/grappelli.html)
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Stphane_Grappelli&oldid=619451248"
Categories: 1908 births 1997 deaths Musicians from Paris French people of Italian descent
Swing violinists Continental jazz violinists French buskers French jazz violinists
Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winners Gypsy jazz violinists Gay musicians
LGBT musicians from France Burials at Pre Lachaise Cemetery
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