Stephane Grappelli's career was beginning to take off once again around the time of this 1969 session in Paris; the swinging violinist is accompanied by pianist Raymond Fol, guitarist Tony Ovio, bassist Jack Sewing, and drummer Andre Hartmann. While the leader and his pianist play rather well, the rest of the rhythm section is burdened by Ovio's rather hackneyed accompaniment. The best tracks are the standards, including a very brisk "Rain Check" and "What Am I Here For" (the latter of which opens with a bit of pizzicato violin), as well as a breakneck "Tabou" (sometimes spelled "Taboo" or "Tabu" on other records). Less inspired are labored renditions of "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)" and "Time on My Hands." One factor separating this date from the typical Grappelli release is the heavier concentration of original material; Grappelli contributed two fairly nondescript ballads ("Andree" and "Light") and the intense swinger "Denise," while Fol penned the bland ballad "Camelia" and a somewhat corny waltz, "Anna." Fol switches to celeste on a couple of numbers, neither of which are particularly remarkable. An odd note on the back cover apologizes for using the original album cover art with the leader's name misspelled Stephane Grappelly, which was actually the original spelling and the way he still signed autographs 20 years after the recording session! While this album (reissued on CD by RCA France in 1994) is hardly a prime example from Stephane Grappelli's considerable discography, there are enough enjoyable tracks for swing fans to considering purchasing it. ~ Ken Dryden
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