In the sleeve notes Nat Hentoff says that to make a solo album ‘a ceaselessly intriguing melodic and harmonic imagination as well as an authoritative sense of jazz time’ is required. He goes on to say with misleading exaggeration that Grappelli ‘has done all of this in a performance that transcends musical styles and trends.’
It is not clear who encouraged Stephane Grappelli to make a solo piano album; but whoever was responsible made a ghastly mistake.
Grappelli is a masterful violinist with great lyrical inventiveness and an impeccable flowing style. It is a mystery that none of this was transferred to the piano. He has a modest piano technique going through each number in much the same way and mistaking syncopation for jazz feeling.
If you had never heard of Stephane Grappelli and you found him playing piano in your local pub you would not be surprised.
Three Little Words; Time After Time; Satin Doll; A Cottage For Sale; Ain’t Misbehavin’; You Better Go Now; What A Wonderful World; Looking At You; Two Sleepy People; Was That The Human Thing To Do; Jacqueline; Tea For Two; A Foggy Day (In London Town); Stephane’s Blues For Abby; Ballade (53.51)
Stephane Grappelli (p). New York, 1990.
(CBS MK 46257)