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In 1969, Gary Burton was blazing jazz trails that could not exactly be described as traditional. He teams up with Le Hot Club of France Stephane Grappelli, conservative stalwart in the European tradition, for a little stroll around the block. The year 1935 was a long time ago. Here we have an electric bass. Not only that, Steve Swallow is behind it. Round this date out with Bill Goodwin and the uninitiated might suspect that Monsieur Grappelli is out numbered by younger players. Non matter, Grappelli plays even the Swallow original "Elderdown" as if he wrote it himself.
Grappelli more than any other jazz violinist identified that instrument with himself, much in the same way Toots Theilmans did the harmonica. No matter who the violinist is, be it Jean-Luc Ponty, Michel Urbaniak, or Regina Carter, the listener can always hear Grappelli. For his own credit, Burton behaves and turns out his most accessible playing of the period. Steve Swallow if fine even as a young man. Apex of the disc may be Miles "Blue in Green." This release is a super empathy between the old and the new. Recommended.
Track Listing: Daphne; Blue In Green; Falling Grace; Here's That Rainy Day; Coquette; Sweet Rain; The Night Has A Thousand Eyes; Arpege; Elderdown (Total Time: 33:57).
Personnel: Gary Burton: Vibraphone; Stephane Grappelli: Violin; Steve Swallow: Electric Bass; Bill Goodwin: Drums.
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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