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Stephane Grappelli
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Violinist
    (January 26, 1908-December 1, 1997)
    Born in Paris, France
    First gained notice as a member of Django Reinhardt's Quintette du Hot Club du France
    Recorded the albums 'Improvisations' (1958), 'Feeling + Finesse = Jazz' (1962), 'For Django' ( 1962), 'Violin Summit' (1966), 'I Remember Django' (1969), 'Afternoon in Paris' (1971), 'Satin Doll' (1972), 'Stardust' (1973), 'Violinspiration' (1975), 'Live at Carnegie Hall' (1978), 'At the Winery' (1980), 'Bringing It Together' (1984), 'Plays Jerome Kern' (1988), 'Something Old, Something New' (1990), 'Live at Carnegie Hall: The 85th Birthday Concert' (1993) and 'Live at the Blue Note' (1995)
    Received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy (1997)
    He started as a street busker.
    He reportedly discovered jazz by accident after hitting the wrong button on a jukebox.
    For the first three decades of his career, he spelled his last name 'Grappelly,' saying that he was tired of people mispronouncing it as 'Grappell-eye.'
    He fathered a child out of wedlock in Paris during the 30s.
    In the late 60s and early 70s, his main gig was playing for upscale diners at the restaurant in the Paris Hilton hotel.
    His mother died of cancer when he was three and his father, a freelance writer, would place him in orphanages while on assignment.
    While in London during WWII, he fell in love with a woman named Gwendoline Turner, who was killed in a bombing raid.
    Classical violinist Yehudi Menuhin said of his improvisational skills, 'He is like one of those jugglers who sends ten plates in the air and recovers them all.'
    He was named a Commander of the Legion of Honor.
    Asked on his 85th birthday if he planned to retire, he replied, 'Music keeps me going. It has given me everything. It's my fountain of youth.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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