English-born, Berklee school trained violinist Ben Powell leads two ensembles: a quartet (playing mostly Powell’s compositions) and a trio with Gary Burton on vibraphone (playing tunes written by or associated with the late great Stephane Grappelli). The connection here is that Burton and Grappelli made a famous record decades ago called Paris Encounter.
All instrumental, save for track 7. No FCC issues.
The Ben Powell Quartet (with piano, bass and drums; plus guest guitarist on track 5)
1 Slow, romantic ballad. Starts & ends with Classical touches. Pretty but low energy. (7:54)
2 * Fast. Showy cadenzas on violin. Hard driving rhythm section. (6:53)
3 ** Fast. Interesting violin & piano dialog. Stong piano. Bass gets a solo too. (5:46)
5 * Very fast. Cole Porter tune. Fun, gypsy jazz in style, featuring guitar & violin. (4:21)
6 * Slow. Early 20th Century classical piece. Shimmering violin, with light piano. (3:22)
7 Duet for violin & voice. Alto Linda Calise rather over-enunciates the French. (5:07)
8 * Fast, exuberant, lots of swing. Somewhere between gypsy jazz & hoedown. (4:57)
The “Stephane Grappelli Tribute Trio” (with Gary Burton, vibes, & Julian Lage, guitar)
4 Slow. By Grappelli for Gary Burton. Dreamy duet between violin & vibes. (6:00)
9 Slow. Quiet, dreamy serenade. Sort of a yawner. (5:57)
10 ** Very fast. Joyful and fun. Good ensemble playing, plus brilliant solos. (5:03)