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Didier Lockwood: Tribute to Stephane Grappelli

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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!