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Stephane Grappelli, Joe Pass: Tivoli Gardens (1991)

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Stephane Grappelli, Joe Pass: Tivoli Gardens No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

In 1979 an exciting performance was captured of a trio of masters, Stephane Grappelli on violin, Joe Pass on Guitar and Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen on bass (also known by the abbreviation NHOP). This trans-generational, all string ensemble swings with a power that is unmatched by many a bigger and more varied band. These expert musicians play with such feeling and precision that they get a big, big sound is despite the smallness of the group.

The repertoire consists of well loved standards played faithfully to the jazz swing style but given so much life that there is no sense of digging up the past. The music is undeniably present. All the tunes are played slightly up tempo from standard from which is derived great momentum. Pass and NHOP often play tastefully around each other providing fills while backing Grappelli as on "Time After Time." However when NHOP plays straight walking time he uses his expert dynamic control to keep the music driving as on the up beat "Let's Fall in Love." It really is amazing just how swinging his bass fiddle is!

None of this is wasted on Grappelli, of course. He swings on top with a non-stop liveliness decorated with his super fast trade mark arpeggios. His tone is sweet but bright and sharp when needed. Listen to the melody statement on "I'll Remember April" with the many lively and impassioned fills and melodic enhancements. He also shows that his soloing ability includes some of the more adventurous harmonic and melodic ideas as on the ballad "I Can't Get Started."

However Pass and NHOP also get ample time to shine on solos. "How Deep is the Ocean" is a Pass NHOP duet with Pass showing his exquisite chord melody playing and NHOP playing in a Scott LaFaro type accompaniment with much solo room for both. Pass also cooks on "It's Only a Paper Moon" and NHOP goes beyond normal ability on his fast solo work on "I'll Remember April."

A live concert of a small group that swings very big has been preserved for our enjoyment. These musicians play strongly and immaculately cohesive. If you like music that really swings with melody that sings and floats, you'll love this album.

Track Listing: 1. It's Only a Paper Moon 2. Time After Time 3. Let's Fall in Love 4. Crazy Rhythm 5. How Deep Is the Ocean? 6. I'll Remember April 7. I Can't Get Started 8. I Get a Kick Out of You

Personnel: Stephane Grappelli - Violin Joe Pass - Guitar Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen - Bass

Record Label: Fantasy Jazz

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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