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Monday, December 1, 1997 Published at 16:56 GMT


Stephane Grappelli is dead

Stephane Grappelli, the world famous violinist, has died at the age of 89 in Paris. Grappelli died in a French clinic where he had been receiving treatment for a hernia, according to his agent Jacques Chartier.

Grappelli's style of playing the violin was unrivalled. He was famous for the rhythm, grace, charm of his playing - and he had enough of it to sustain a career that lasted more than 60 years.

Grappelli was one of the very few Europeans in jazz to achieve an international standard comparable to the great American jazz musicians. It is significant that he did so on the violin, an instrument normally considered outside mainstream jazz.

Grappelli was largely self-taught and he began his career accompanying silent movies in Paris after World War I.

He hit the big time when he teamed up with the guitarist Django Reinhardt. After the partnership ended with World War II, Grappelli mainly pursued a solo career. But in the 1970s, he began a surprising, though fruitful, partnership with the celebrated classical violinist Yehudi Menuhin.

Grappelli played on into extreme old age but he will be remembered mostly for his work in the 1930s with Django Reinhardt. Their combination of instruments, unusual for the day, brought a new freshness and lightness to jazz.

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Stephane Grappelli discography

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