Stéphane Grappelli

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Stéphane Grappelli (London 1976. Photo: Allan Warren)

Stéphane Grappelli (* 26. January 1908 in Paris ; † 1. December 1997 ) was a French jazz - violinist . His name is given as grappelly on records from the 1930s .


Grappelli was born in the Hôpital Lariboisière in Paris as the son of an Italian Marchese and a French woman from Saint-Omer and was baptized Stefano. He lost his mother when he was four years old. When the First World War broke out, his father was drafted into the Italian army. Six-year-old Stefano was able to take a few dance lessons with Isadora Duncan , but then came to a Catholic orphanage, which he experienced as a traumatizing experience because he slept on the floor there and often had to starve. When his father returned from the war, he made sure that his son received French citizenship, whereupon his first name was changed to Stéphane.

As a teenager, Grappelli taught himself to play the violin and the piano and, without ever having had a teacher, passed the entrance exam for the Paris Conservatory . He studied there between 1924 and 1928. During this time and after his studies he worked as a musician in cinemas and in dance bands such as Grégor et ses Grégoriens , until he met Django Reinhardt in 1933 . Grappelli founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France together with Reinhardt , they made numerous records together, including a. for the Swing label until 1939 and celebrated concert successes. When the Second World War broke out on September 1, 1939 , the band was on a concert tour in London . Reinhardt went straight back to Paris, but Grappelli stayed in England .

In England, Grappelli formed a new band with the young pianist George Shearing , which emerged from Arthur Young's Swingtette . He only worked with Reinhardt again after the war, but without becoming a member of the band. Stéphane Grappelli developed into the most influential violinist on the jazz scene in the 1950s and 1960s and made his instrument acceptable in jazz. From then on, Grappelli recorded records with all the great jazz musicians around the world or went on tour with them. On September 30, 1966, Duke Ellington brought the four most famous violinists of the time to the stage with the concert “Violin Summit”. In addition to Grappelli Stuff Smith , Svend Asmussen and Jean-Luc Ponty appeared in different sets . Together they played It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) .

At the beginning of the 1970s, Grappelli began an artistic collaboration with the classical violinist Yehudi Menuhin . Until the 1990s he often went on concert tours, initially with Diz Disley . He celebrated his 86th birthday with Gary Burton , Martial Solal and Jean-Luc Ponty. Until shortly before his death he made studio recordings (also with younger musicians), such as a solo (Gage 300 GBP) for Pink Floyd's album Wish You Were Here in 1975 and Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark with Joe Pass and Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen in 1979 . His last CD Celebrating Grappelli , recorded shortly before his death in 1997 , was released posthumously. Stéphane Grappelli's urn is in the columbarium of the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris .

Grappelli played a violin made by the French violin maker Pierre Jean Henri Hel.


Grappelli (2nd from left) with (from left) Larry Coryell, Philip Catherine and Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen
  • 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)
  • Gary Burton / Stephane Grappelli: Paris Encounter ( Atlantic , 1969)
  • Stephane Grappelli / Jean-Luc Ponty: Violin Summit No. 2 (1973, MusiDisc / Inner City )
  • Stephane Grappelli / Joe Venuti : Venupelli Blues (1979, Affinity)
  • Stephane Grappelli / Philip Catherine / Larry Coryell / Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen: Young Django (1979, MPS )
  • Stephane Grappelli / David Grisman : Live at Berklee (1979)
  • Stephane Grappelli / Diz Disley: Live at Carnegie Hall (1983, Dr Jazz)
  • Stephane Grappelli / Martin Taylor : We've Got The World on a String (1984, EMI)
  • Stephane Grappelli / Stuff Smith: Violins No End (1984, Pablo)
  • Stephane Grappelli / Michel Legrand (1992, Verve)
  • Stephane Grappelli / Martin Taylor: Reunion (1993, Linn Records)
  • Stephane Grappelli / Michel Petrucciani : Flamingo (1996) (DE: Gold in the Jazz Award)
  • Oscar Peterson / Stephane Grappelli: Skol (1979, Pablo)
  • Elena Duran / Stephane Grappelli / Laurie Holloway : Bach to the Beatles (1991, Academy Sound)

Albums under your own name

Yehudi Menuhin (left) and Stephane Grappelli (1976)
  • Unique Piano Session Paris 1955 (1955, Jazz Anthology)
  • Improvisations (Paris, 1956)
  • Afternoon in Paris (1971, MPS)
  • Manoir de Mes Reves (1972, Musidisc)
  • Homage to Django (1972, released Classic Jazz in 1976)
  • Just one of those things! (1973 Black Lion Records)
  • I got rhythm! (1974 Black Lion Records with Diz Disley , Denny Wright and Len Skeat )
  • Shades of Django (1975, MPS)
  • Satin Doll (1975, Vanguard)
  • Parisian Thoroughfare (with Roland Hanna , Mel Lewis & George Mraz , Arista / Freedom Records 1975)
  • Stephane Grappelli and Cordes (1977, Musidisc)
  • Live at Carnegie Hall (1978, Signature)
  • Uptown Dance (1978, Columbia)
  • Sonny Lester Collection (1980, LRC)
  • Stephane Grappelli `80 (1980 Happy Bird, with Gérard Gustin )
  • Stephane Grappelli (Pye)
  • Vintage 1981 (1981, Concord)
  • Just One Of Those Things (1984, EMI Studios)
  • Grappelli Plays George Gershwin (1984, Musidisc)
  • 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)
  • How Can You Miss, with Louie Bellson and Phil Woods (1989, Rushmore)
  • Jazz 'Round Midnight (1989, Verve)
  • Milou en Mai (1990, CBS)
  • Stephane Grappelli in Tokyo (1991, A&M records)
  • Stephane Grappelli 1992 Live (1992, Verve)
  • Jazz Masters (20+ -year compilation, 1994, Verve)
  • 85 and Still Swinging (1993, Angel)
  • Live at the Blue Note (1996, Telarc Jazz)
  • Crazy Rhythm (1996/2000, Pulse)
  • Parisian Thoroughfare (1997, Laserlight)

Film music

Web links

Commons : Stéphane Grappelli  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. A Rambling Conversation with Roger Waters ( Memento of the original from January 24, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (English), accessed April 6, 2013. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. Gold / platinum database of the Federal Association of the Music Industry, accessed on June 26, 2016