Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Jazz Gems #3 - Stephane Grappelli and George Shearing

Amusing/amazing snippets from the legends of jazz

Stephane Grappelli, jazz violinist with the Quintet of the Hot Club of France, was born in France in January 1908. George Shearing was born in London in August 1919.

When the outbreak of World War 2 was announced in Europe the Quintet was in London fulfilling a recording contract with Decca. Django Reinhardt and the others immediately returned to France, while Stephane stayed on in London to work in various hotels and clubs which would remain open despite the bombs and air-raids. Stephane told how he frequently played with George Shearing, the blind jazz pianist. After their gigs, while others were fumbling and stumbling their way through the darkened streets of wartime London, George was able to quickly and confidently lead the way home through the total "black-out".

Stephane died in December 1997. George remains active to this day.
Each have led full lives in the advancement and the enjoyment of jazz as composers, prolific recording artists and performers and both have won many awards.

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