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Paul had admired Grappelli’s work from the 1960’s when they both shared a record label – DECCA Ace of Clubs. In 1978 they met at the BBC and Paul had this photograph taken; which shows Stephane serenaded by The Suzuki Children.
Paul sent the photo to Stephane and had this signed photo ‘by return’.
Over the next 20 years the friendship and professional relationship developed as Paul first produced a BBC Radio biography ‘60 Years On The Fiddle’ then directed a 3 hour DVD ‘A Life In The Jazz Century’ and finally the hardback biography ‘With and Without Django’.
These projects were enriched by contributions from: Yehudi Menuhin, Nigel Kennedy, Michael Parkinson, Lew Grade and Diz Disley.
Nigel Kennedy & Paul Balmer Paul Balmer & Lew Grade
Paul Balmer & Yehudi Menuhin Stephane Grappelli & Paul Balmer*
* It was a privilege to be invited into Stephane’s home and to be close to this jazz genius.
The DVD and books are still available. The DVD contains all the known footage of Stephane’s long time collaborator Django Reinhardt. It was nominated for a British Academy Award in 2002 and has won two other awards in USA and Rome.
✰✰✰✰✰ DVD - superb production values (BBC Music Magazine)
A masterpiece (Just Jazz Guitar - USA)
Immaculate … a fine film with music that has a lifetime guarantee (Mojo)
Indispensable (Jazz Hot – Paris)
A beautiful and well-mounted film (Time Out)
Three value-packed hours of good music and interview (London Evening Standard)
✰✰✰✰✰ DVD - An excellent production … highly recommended (DVD Review)
The finest documentary of a musician’s life I have ever seen (Fanfare - USA)
Immaculate … the best introduction to DVD jazz you can buy at present (Jazz Review)
One of the best DVD releases I’ve yet seen (Jazz Journal International)
✰✰✰✰✰ DVD - If you want comprehensive this is it (What DVD)
The definitive document … movie 8 – extras 9 (DVD Monthly)
The unheralded quality of material and cinematic grace of Paul Balmer’s documentary raise the art to a new level … makes excellent use of the DVD format (The Strad)
If you want to know what the future of DVD is going to be like right now take a look at this Music on Earth release (DVD Laser Disc Newsletter – USA)
Recorded to the highest quality image and audio standards, this really is about as close as anyone’s likely to get to a definitive collection that marks one of the great eras in modern music (Guitar Magazine)