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January/February 2001

Didier Lockwood
Tribute to Stephane Grappelli
Dreyfus Records

French violinist Didier Lockwood perfectly captures the sprightly swing of Grappelli on this heartfelt homage to the French master. Accompanied by the great bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen and firebrand guitarist Bireli Lagrene, Lockwood sails through a set of standards with elegance, aplomb and the same sense of joie de vivre that Grappelli always conveyed in his playing.

The trio simmers through a brisk rendition of Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm" before settling into a luxurious reading of Django Reinhardt's "Nuages," a tune that Lagrene must have recorded dozens of times by now. Lockwood exhibits a playful quality on his earthy "Barbizon Blues," which is anchored by Pedersen's sure-footed walking. The bassist gets to unleash his formidable chops on a burning rendition of Sonny Rollins' "Pent Up House," strangely mistitled here as "Paint Up House."
Lagrene and Lockwood team for a romantic duet on "My One and Only Love" and Pedersen joins the violinist for a fragile duet on Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood." Together these three great musicians turn "All the Things You Are" into a kind of fugue and waltz their way through "Some Day My Prince Will Come" with the grace of Astaire. And they hit a special accord on the Grappelli-Reinhardt lament "Tears." In a word, magnifique!

Originally published in January/February 2001
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