Claude Bolling

First Class

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According to this CD's liner notes (and they seem to be accurate), violinist Stephane Grappelli had never recorded with a jazz big band prior to these 1991 sessions (although he did have a couple of dates with large orchestras). Other soloists are heard from (Bolling on piano, trombonist Andre Paquinet, Carl Schlosser on tenor, Philipe Portejoie on soprano and altoist Claude Tissendier, who sounds a bit like Johnny Hodges on "Moon Mist"), but the emphasis is on Grappelli and his interplay with the orchestra. There are no real surprises in the repertoire, which is mostly swing standards (including "Minor Swing," the haunting "Tears," "Crazy Rhythm" and "Lady Be Good"), and the two Bolling originals that open the set (including one called "Stephane") are in the swing tradition, but, as usual for a Grappelli recording, the results are delightful.

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