It was always going to be a dangerous mission. Trevor Churchill’s brainchild, THE GOLDEN AGE OF AMERICAN POP, had been in development for some time and the prototype was about to be launched into the fray with a bundle of seemingly undifferentiated repertoire. The potential embarrassment factor was high with risk of heavy flak on the way and snipers on the ground in the landing zone. Trevor was calling for volunteers. There was a lot of nervous shuffling among the ranks. Some of the lads took to studying their toecaps, while others took an inordinate interest in the state of their cuticles, or tried to look inconspicuous by melting into the background.
Violinists Stéphane Grappelli and Stuff Smith performed together on a few occasions, but this 1965 studio session, first issued by Barclay, was one of the more difficult dates to acquire until Universal Music reissued it on CD in 2002, as a part of their extensive Jazz in Paris series. With a solid rhythm section (pianist René Urtreger, bassist Michel Gaudry, and drummer Michel Delaporte) that pretty much sticks to a supporting role, it is clear that Smith's gritty tone rubs off on Grappelli as the session progresses.