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 Stephane Grappelli
Stephane Grappelli - Live in the Durban City HallStephane Grappelli & The Diz Disley Trio
Historic Durban City Hall Recordings - 14/15 May 1976

Stephane Grappelli's CD Biographie

Order the CD

First Half - Cd One (3eM 0063 A):

1. Introduction: Diz Disley (6'00")
2. Shine(4'00")
3. These Foolish Things (4'46")
4. I Can't Give You Anything But Love (2'40")
5. Limehouse Blues (3'06")
6. I Only Have Eyes For You (4'06")
7. Nuages (8'12")
8. Ol' Man River (5'28")
9. Walkin' My Baby Back Home (4'31")
10. Sometimes I'm Happy (3'44")
11. How High The Moon? (3'46")
12. Sweet Georgia Brown (3'11")
13. Interval Announcement - Diz Disley (00'29")

 listen to mp3 - Stephane Grappelli - Live in the Durban City Hall - 1976 - Indiana (size: 172 kb)

Second Half - Cd Two (3eM 0063 B):

1. Special Request - Dis Dizley (2'03")
2. Killing Me Softly With His Song (4'00")
3. Indiana (5'25")
4. Honeysuckle Rose (8'23")
5. Misty (4'30")
6. Manoir De Mes Reves / Daphne (6'07")
7. Them There Eyes (3'21")
8. Someone To Watch Over Me /I Got Rhythm (4'25")
9. Sarie Marias (4'18")
10. Introduction Stephane Grappelli - Finding A Piano On Stage (0'32")
11. Makin' Whoopee (7'41")

Produced & Recorded by David Marks
Assisted by Dylan Marks in London
(p)© 3rd Ear Music SA / Diz Disley Productions UK

Don Albert remembers:
On the 14th & 15th of May, 1976 Stephane Grappelli led his group onto the stage at the Durban City Hall in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The famous building was designed & built by Sir Herbert Baker in 1910 & is a mirror image of the Belfast City Hall.

If someone had to compare violin players to saxophonists, then I suppose Joe Venuti & Stuff Smith would be Coleman Hawkins & Ben Webster, & Stephane Grappelli would be Lester Young. The styles of Young & Grappelli are not all that dissimilar. They both have a floating style & although they play cool, long melodic lines, they both swing mightily.

Stephane, Diz & Ike came over from the UK for the tour of South Africa, Bob Hill - a Scotsman who settled in South Africa in November 1954 - was asked to come down from Johannesburg to join them. On arriving in Durban Diz Disley & Ike Isaacs came to his hotel room with their guitars & the three ran through a blues & one or two other tunes. Diz & Ike gave him the nod & said "You'll be OK" & that was the end of the audition & the rehearsal. The first time Bob met Stephane was on the stage at the sound balance just before the concert. The official rehearsal was just a talk through of the repertoire to be played.

The concert performances you'll hear on these CDs were never rehearsed, but the excitement of the musicians comes through in the music & along with the encouragement of the audience makes this some of the finest live jazz ever recorded.

Of the audience reaction, Bob Hill said "I had never ever heard anything like it before." Bob is a very genuine person & not the type to pull any punches. So when he told me "My proudest moment in music was when I was asked to accompany Grappelli." I knew he meant every word. "I loved Django from when I started playing." he said "So working with Steph was wonderful. He has a ridiculous technique & I sat with tears when he played solo on Django's "Nuages". It has always been one of my best. "It was also an honour to play with Ike Isaacs, who I knew from London, & of course Diz Disley. "Unfortunately we didn't have time to rehearse - I only met Steph for the first time at the sound rehearsal before the show. "I am proud to be part of this recording."

I'm sure that last sentence echoes the sentiments of all who are associated with these historic recordings.

(Don Albert is a Johannesburg Jazz Critic, Saxophonist & Radio presenter)

These historic Durban City Hall recordings have only recently been salvaged from 3rd Ear Music's Hidden Years Archives - however they are not part of the project. The proceeds from sales will help 3eM to restore & catalogue the 35 year old recording archive collection.

Interest in the 'Hidden Years' archives project is growing & a number of well known local & international artists have been approached to consider having their more presentable live recordings issued on CD-R. When ever possible (with permission) 3rd Ear Sound (DAVID, DON & TOMA) would record every show, concert, club or festival. Given the technology & budget restraints at the time, recordings were usually made for historic reference. It was a bizarre & strange time in Africa.

Stephane asked David to record the '76 tour- but who would have believed 25 years ago that technology would develop to the extent where 'noisy' old analogue reference tapes could be restored to almost near perfect audio clarity? The concert was recorded direct off 3rd Ear's PA Sound Mix by way of an 8 channel home-made console direct onto an old 7.5ips Ferrograph Tape Deck. Equalisation was basic (note the feedback in the acoustically vibrant Durban City Hall), so tone & dynamics were created solely by the musicians. The tapes were cleaned with Soundforge 4.5, Steinberg Denoiser, Sonic Foundary Noise Reduction. The 1/4" magnetic tape used for the recording was collected from studio off-cuts......

Thanks to Toma Simons, 3rd Ear sound technician & Yanni Markantonatos - the Roadie.

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Stephane Grappelli - CD Biographie

In Concert Durban City Hall, 14th & 15th May 1976
With the Diz Disley Trio
Produced by Diz Disley, David Marks & Dylan Marks
3rd Ear Music, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal May 2000.
Proceeds from the sale of this CD-R for the

Diz Disley - Acoustic Guitar
Ike Isaacs - Acoustic Guitar
Bob Hill - Double Bass

Concert Credits:
Concert Production: Clifford Hocking
290 Collins Street, Melbourne Australia & L Tee & Zee
5 Toffie Lane, Clarement, Cape Town, South Africa
Tour Direction: Paul Zamek & Paddy Lee Thorp
Sound Engineer: Dave Marks / 3rd Ear Sound 1976

Stephane Grappelli(1908 -1997)
Master Musician - Legion of Honour

A witty improvisation; another tickling amazing introduction & suddenly the audience erupt in recognition. "Satin Doll" ... "Misty" ... "Honeysuckle Rose" ..., songs that have become jazz classics are being played, by a master, as if the audience was hearing them for the first time. & the man responsible for the sighs of delight, the spontaneous bursts of applause & the inevitable standing ovations was, at 80 years old, at the peak of his musical career.

Stephane Grappelli conquered Australia, Europe, Africa & the United States - with sell-out concerts for over 60 years as a professional musician.
Stephane's first instrument was the piano, but he started teaching himself the violin at 9 years old. At the age of twelve his father had scrapped enough money together to send him to the Paris Conservatoire, & he soon showed all the signs of becoming an accomplished classical player. At 15 years old he was earning a living playing both Violin & Piano in cinemas & cafes. He spent some time as a dancer with Isadora Duncan's school in Paris - "she wanted the children to dance around with flowers in their hair & impersonate angels; It was ridiculous - difficile if you are not an angle...." After six months he was dismissed.

Accolades came quickly as Stephane won first prize at the Paris Conservatory of Music. In his teens, Stephane started listening to theatre music & at eighteen he heard Louis Armstrong. "That", he said "changed my destiny". When his father was transferred out of Paris on business, Stephane decided to stay & continue his studies, although he had some problems making ends meet.

"Jazz was everywhere in Paris when I was studying," recalled Grappelli. "I remember the first record we thought of as jazz which I played on a gramophone in a restaurant, over & over & over again. It was "Stumbling", by (Zez) Confrey. Oh, we thought that was wonderful, so exciting, so fresh."

"I was not born to be a dancer, I listen only to the music, which was a revelation to me." He took to playing the streets & courtyards of Paris for whatever passers-by would throw into his cap. Buying the barest essentials, Stephane used whatever he had left to get into the Paris Coliseum to hear Mitchell's Jazz Kings, one of the most popular jazz outfits of the twenties.

Following stints with Gregor & the Gregorians at the Claridges Hotel in Paris, Stephane found himself in a small club in Montparnesse. "I saw this dark face staring at me intently," he recalls of one night at the club, "I thought it was a gangster who didn't like my music. He made me nervous.: The stranger turned out to be the famous gypsy jazz guitarist, Django Reinhardt. When Grappelli & Reinhardt finally met a few years later in the same hotel, they decided to try out their tunes when the house band took a break. Joseph Reinhardt, Django's brother sat in on rhythm guitar with rhythm guitarist Roger Chaput & bassist Louis Vmal stepping in to form a quintet. Their loose jam sessions quickly jelled into tight-knit musical interactions that astounded patrons of the "Hot Club of France". Stephane suggested they call themselves the "Quintet of the Hot Club of France" & the group gave their first concerts to "howling critical plaudits." A relatively new record company, Ultraphone, recorded the band.

The influence of the Quintet is still being felt today, & they have made well over 200 recordings. They were the first European jazz outfit to seriously influence the formation of jazz, & every guitarist from Carlos Santana to Barney Kessel has bits of Django in his style.

The London Telegraph, 1997 - In the mid 60's Stephane fell out of fashion & seemed content to play at the Paris Hilton as resident bandleader. It was during this 5 year stint that his extraordinary late "flowering" began when he recorded a sensational album with American vibraphonist, Gary Burton. In 1974 Django Rheinhardt devotee, British Guitarist extraordinaire, Diz Disley, encouraged him to lead their group for a short tour. The new quintet was wildly successful & further tours were booked.

A versatile player of many moods, Stephane was in his 70's when he ventured into progressive rock. His studio sessions with Pink Floyd & a number of other progressive rock & pop bands are now legendary. The recording of a new adaptation of the classic 'Peter & the Wolf' with name stars like Manfred Mann, Eno & Alvin Lee drew critical acclaim from the international music press.

Stephane's admirers include the cream of the modern jazz movement, amongst them his protégé, Jean-Luc Ponty, John McClaughlin, Jan Hammer, Gary Burton, along with more traditional friends like Stan Getz, Benny Goodman & Oscar Peterson.

Stephane has recorded hundreds of albums over the course of his 70 year career with numerous excellent musicians on dozens of labels that are distributed all over the world.

His collaboration with classical violin virtuoso Yehudi Menuhin produced an album made up of a collection of sweet nostalgia of the Thirties. Entitled "Jaloisie" it was such a great artistic & commercial success that it prompted the artists to get together for a follow-up record. Their last album together was "Fascinating Rhythm", with Grappelli & the classical virtuoso not only trading violin licks but with Stephane backing the master on piano as well.

"On the Road" was Stephane's last recording with the Diz Disley Trio & now this historic & unique Durban City Hall Concert of the 14th & 15th May 1976, joins the collection.

A five-page profile in the distinguished magazine "New Yorker" by world-renowned jazz journalist Whitney Balliett is testament to the immortality of a master musician who has altered the direction of music in the past & is shaping the music of the present ... for the future.

Diz Disley
Diz studied art in Leeds, England, but he's played music since he was 12. It was a good time for music at the Leeds College of Art. There was Diz, Alan Cooper who later formed the Temperance 7, & from quite a different scene a lad called Frank Abelson who later became Frankie Vaughn. Diz played banjo in the college band - the Vernon Street ramblers - when he was asked to join the slightly more prestigious Yorkshire Jazz band, which brought him to London & the Mick Mulligan/George Melly rave-ups.

In those days the band was playing for $9 a week. But they didn't even consider the money, it was a pleasure to be playing Jazz in London. Melody Maker voted Diz Jazz Guitarist of the Year for a number of years. Diz has played with & continues to play with some of the great names in Jazz - Big Bill Broonzy, Louis Armstrong, Ken Colyer, Sandy Brown, Cy Laurie, Kenny Ball & Alex Welsh among others. Diz led his own quintet at the BBC & compered various folk & jazz programmes for years.

It was while organising the Cambridge Folk Festivals in the early 70's that Diz invited Stephane Grappelli to make an appearance. Steph had not played his style of Jazz since Django died in 1953 - mainly because he couldn't find reliable acoustic guitar players. The best guitar players to suit his style of Violin Jazz were all gypsies - & reliability was a problem. It was for that reason that Steph had stepped out of the limelight for almost 20 years, before meeting with Diz. Stephane wanted a pianist to accompany him at the Cambridge Folk Festival, but Diz couldn't get the piano across the field to the stage, so he suggested that he & Denny Wright accompany the legendary Stephane Grappelli. It was an outstanding success. When Diz formed the Diz Disley Trion with Ike Isaacs, Steph was asked to lead the band on a short tour.

Ike Isaacs
Ike was born in Burma in 1920. A chemistry graduate he chose to pursue a career in music & started his own Jazz group while in India. In 1944 Ike turned pro with the Leslie Douglas Bomber Command Band. He later joined Cyril Stapleton's BBC Show Band as their guitarist & worked on a series of orchestral albums. He played for 12 years with the Ted Heath Band & featured in Braden's Weeks & the Max Bygraves Show & has made several Albums, notably - Ike Isaacs Lutes & Flutes - The Music of Michel Le Grand. Ike joined the Diz Disley Trio on their world tour with Stephane in 1974.

Bob Hill
The 'legendary bass player from Hillbrow, Johannesburg...' Diz Disley's endearing introduction of Bob to the Grappelli Concerts will live forever on these recordings. Bob is certainly one of the most respected & legendary musicians in SAfrica. He has been part of the recording session & music scene - jazz, rock, & folk - since the 50's, accompaning some of the world's greats - From Stan Getz & James Last to Rod McKuen & Trini Lopez, from Helen Shapiro to Jack Von Poll & is still very active in Johannesburg Jazz circles.

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