Music of Grappelli

Jon Burr Trio
with Howard Alden and Jonathan Russell

Bassist Jon Burr played in Stephane Grappelli's North American touring trio for the last 12 years of Stephane's life, from 1986 through 1997. Stephane loved the American songbook, with a taste for the joyous, upbeat side of jazz, and romantic, classic ballads. As the trio's bassist, Jon frequently made recordings of the performances on his Walkman in order to improve his own performance, and kept a library of the cassettes to help in remembering the arrangements between tours. Stephane's unique arrangements had evolved over many years through jam sessions in the dressing room between the soundchecks and the concerts, rehearsing over a bottle of Johnny Walker Red and a deli plate with his various band personnel.

Jon and Howard Alden have collaborated on many projects, having toured together with Mark O'Connors Hot Swing, and Howard’s “Live at the Smithsonian”DVD. Howard is one of the foremost guitarists working today, with extensive credits in music descended from the Quintette of the Hot Club of Paris, which included Stephane along with legendary guitarist Django Reinhart. Howard's most notable credit, beside his I Remember Django release on Arbors Records (with Jon on bass), was as the guitarist (and Sean Penn's guitar teacher) featured on Woody Allen's Django tribute film "Sweet and Lowdown."

In 2009, after years of encounters in the neighborhood where they both lived, Jon had the chance to play with violinist Jonathan Russell for the first time. Jon knew Jonathan as a child prodigy, watching him grow up with interest, and was delighted when Jonathan came to Jon's gig at Yonkers Monday Jazz to sit in. Jon told Jonathan about the Grappelli tapes and asked if he'd be interested in studying them. Jonathan undertook the opportunity with enthusiasm, andThe Music of Grappelli is the product of this work. Jonathan’s work has been described in the New York Times as sophisticated improvisations on the melodies of jazz standards,” and by age 17 he’d done many appearances at jazz parties and festivals around the US including the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Also active as a composer, his film score credits include work on a noted Bollywood release by Prakash Jha Aarakshan as well as numerous web and new media releases.

Vocalist and cornetist Bria Skonberg from Vancouver, BC is an emerging phenomenal talent already a fixture on the Jazz party circuit, with a new release "So Is The Day" on Random Act Records. She brings a fresh voice to the music, offering the listener an opportunity to hear the lyrics of some classic songs in the context of the Grappelli sound.

Music of Grappelli is a loving re-creation of the arrangements played by the Stephane Grappelli Trio, with featured guest Bria Skonberg as band singer (and cornet soloist!).