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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

CD Review: Tim Kliphuis - The Grappelli Album

Tim Kliphuis (vln); Nigel Clark (gtr); Roy Percy (bs).
A few years back, at the Saville Exchange, North Shields - remember those wonderful sessions the late Mike Durham organised there and the top class musicians he brought to the historic building? Ken Peplowski, Marty Grosz and Daryl Sherman to mention but a few. Oh yes, and there was a Dutch violinist - Tim Kliphuis, in the company of Keith Stephen, Roly Veitch and Bruce Rollo. I remember it well, the man from Holland swung it like the man from Paris! Let me tell you he does it again here - Grappelli Lives!
The opening Honeysuckle Rose reminded me the song had a verse. I first encountered Honeysuckle Rose in a book of Fats Waller tunes and, in those days (I was about 14), I assumed that if a piece of music had a verse it was played as part of the tune or else why bother writing it? So I learned the verse. As my education progressed I discovered that playing the verse was the exception rather than the norm. Shame. Might as well cut out the When shall we three meet again, in thunder lightning or in rain? from the opening scene of  Macbeth.
However, I digress, this is jazz violin at its finest and, dare I say it? Unlike Stephane, Tim doesn't have the chugging clunk clunk Hot Club rhythm to hold him back.
Don't get me wrong, Django was marvellous and the bands that recreate the Hot Club music such as Djangologie do it very well but I have to say that Grappelli sounded so much better in his later years with Martin Taylor, John Etheridge etc.
I'm going to savour this disc as long as I have taste buds in my ears. Not just the classic gassers such as Honeysuckle, I Surrender Dear, How High the Moon, J'Attendrai, Shine, The Nearness of You and the Hot Club faves - Swing 39 and Stompin' at Decca - but also the five rare Grappelli compositions relatively unknown to other than the connoisseur - every one a gem.
On guitar Clark, makes no attempt to re-create the Django role, although he does occasionally nod in the gypsy's direction, but instead takes the latterday approach of Grappelli's later sidemen and does it brilliantly.
Roy Percy - Scotland's Mr Bassman lives up to his title.
Love it!
Lance.  

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