Grappelli, Stéphane

Grappelli, Stéphane, 1908–97, French jazz violinist, b. Paris. Trained at the Paris Conservatory as a classical violinist, he became enamored of American jazz and devoted himself to the idiom, successfully melding African-American and European forms. From 1934–37 he and the guitarist Django Reinhardt created innovative improvisational “hot jazz” as co-leaders of the extremely popular Quintet of the Hot Club in Paris. In London during World War II, Grappelli played with the pianist George Shearing. Later he toured the world, made his U.S. debut (1969) at the Newport Jazz Festival, and during the 1970s and 80s teamed with other jazz violinists and pianists in live concerts and recordings. He also played with such noted classical musicians as Yehudi Menuhin and Yo-Yo Ma.

See his memoirs (1992, tr. 2002); biographies by R. Horricks (1983) and G. Smith (1987).

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