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Grappelli plays Grappelli sports exactly what the name implies, the late violinist Stephane Grappelli performing his own compositions. But it is a bit more orderly than that. Contained on this single disc are two recording sessions, illuminating two themes. Recorded in 1980 but never released, the Horoscope Sessions highlight twelve winsome pieces based on the standard horoscope, composed by Grappelli and Perez Pilar. The second session, Emotions, was recorded seven years earlier and consists of six nervous pieces based on a corresponding number of emotions.
Both sessions employ a piano trio backing Grappelli. The rhythm section is solid: the bass is full-bodied and walking, the drums crisp and accented, and the piano tastefully supportive. The compositions are all swinging. Grappelli’s ideas are fluid and effortlessall melody and light, whether playing head or harmony or improvisation. Five years after this master’s death, listening to this recording makes one acutely aware how inevitable his loss was and how no one else sounded anything like him.