Jean-Luc Ponty & Stephane Grappelli
Recorded at Studio Fremontel in December 1973
At the time that this encounter between two of the greatest-ever jazz violinists took place, Stephane Grappelli was having a renaissance in his career, starting to constantly travel the world, while Jean-Luc Ponty was gaining fame for his playing with Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention. Although Ponty was still a year away from leading his own fusion group, his style and sound were already largely set. But, despite their difference in backgrounds, Ponty and Grappelli found a lot of common ground on this set due to their brilliant techniques and mutual respect. With assistance from keyboardist Maurice Vander, guitarist Philip Catherine, bassist Tony Bonfils and drummer Andre Ceccarelli, the outing (last available domestically as an Inner City LP) is an example of Grappelli meeting Ponty on his own turf. The younger violinist wrote and arranged all five songs, which include "Bowing-Bowing," "Memorial Jam for Stuff Smith" and "Violin Summit No. 2.") Although the music leans closer to fusion than to swing, Grappelli fits in surprisingly well. A very interesting set.
All Music Guide
========= from the cover ==========
As two of the foremost exponents of the violin in this century, Stephane Grappelli and Jean-Luc Ponty each have their special place in the annals of Jazz music. Separated by three decades, they are each the pride and product of their own generation.
Stephane Grappelli was born in Paris on January 26th 1908. Having started with the violin at the age of twelve, he proved to be a flexible musician. The early years were difficult; with the first step in his musical career as an accompanist to the silent films. He was not only expected to play the violin, but proved to be an accomplished saxophonist and piano player. It was Stephen Mougin, one of the first French Jazz musicians that introduced him to the music that was to become his lifelong passion, but the great milestone on his road to fame came when jam sessions with Django Reinhardt resulted in their forming the now legendary 'Hot Club de France'.
The rest, as they say, is history An artist of world calibre, Grappelli has loured the world with his music, often collaborating and recording with other musical giants and confirming, without doubt, his position as a master in the world of Jazz music.
Jean-Luc Ponty was born in Avanches, in Northern France on September 29th 1942, At the age of sixteen he was admitted to the prestigious Conservatoire Nationale de Musique in Paris where he laid the foundations of his technical brilliance. Ponty's love of jazz later led him to form his own quartet, taking part in the Jazz Festival in Antibes in 1964. A prolific recording artist, Jean-Luc Ponty is also much in demand as a guest with many of his contemporaries. He toured with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention and the Mahavishnu Orchestra and made a guest appearance on Elton John's 'Honky Chateau' album.
In 1966 both Grappelli and Ponty worked with the inimitable Stuff Smith, originator of the barrelhouse jazz style of violin playing. Their closeness is reflected in the moving 'Memorial Jam for Stuff Smith.' 'Golden Green' and 'Valerie' are masterpieces in their own right, as are 'Bowing Bowing' and the breathtaking 'Violin Summit'. But, under the genius of such giants as Grappelli and Ponty, they become gems of rare beauty that dazzle and delight the senses of the listener.