I used to listen to it constantly and would often go to sleep with it playing in the background
Someone to Watch Over Me
Stéphane Grappelli, Svend Asmussen (violins)
I am a fan of both Stéphane Grappelli and his contemporary Svend Asmussen, so it’s a special treat to be able to hear Two of a Kind, on which they collaborated. I particularly like their arrangement of this jazz classic. Asmussen plays an octave fiddle on this track, which has a deep and rich voice that complements Grappelli’s sweet and brighter tone.
Between Sea and Sky
Jean-Luc Ponty (violin)
Live at Chene Park was one of the first albums that got me into jazz violin when I was younger. I used to listen to it constantly and would often go to sleep with it playing in the background. One of my favourite pieces from it is Between Sea and Sky, with its catchy melody and infectious groove. Ponty’s solo was also one of the first jazz violin solos I ever learnt by ear, and it opened my mind to new rhythmic and harmonic possibilities.
Ou Es-Tu Mon Amour
Florin Niculescu (violin) Biréli Lagrène (guitar)
This track, from the album Gipsy Project and Friends, is one of my favourite contemporary gypsy jazz recordings. Both Lagrène and Niculescu play with virtuosity, inventiveness and soul. On this track Niculescu’s violin tone has many layers and colours, as well as that authentic gypsy voice that at times sounds like a person crying. No one plays gypsy ballads as well as him.
Fugue in G minor for solo violin (arr. Contreras)
Christian Howes, Billy Contreras (violins)
When the album Jazz Fiddle Revolution came out in 2004, jazz violin took a leap forward thanks to the collaboration between these two violinists. It consists mostly of duets of jazz standards arranged with four-part harmonies, accomplished by pairing double-stops, and off-the-cuff improvisations and solos. As a big fan of Bach as well as of jazz, I was particularly drawn to their arrangement of the Fugue in G minor, which shows how well suited Bach’s chord changes are for improvising.
It’s Peaceful Here op.21 no.7
Itzhak Perlman (violin) Samuel Sanders (piano)
I absolutely love Perlman’s interpretation of this simple, beautiful melody. Every note is filled with tonal complexity and he plays with such conviction. This piece, from the second volume of Perlman’s Greatest Hits series, has helped me to unwind after many a long stressful day.
Jason Anick is teaching at Christian Howes’s Creative Strings Workshop in Columbus, Ohio, US, 29 June–4 July