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50 Hits : Joe Venuti

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Album Review

This CD reissue, which does not give the recording dates, brings back material recorded by the immortal jazz violinist Joe Venuti during his visits to Italy in 1971 and 1974. The former material was out domestically on a Vanguard LP (along with a few other cuts), but the latter is more obscure. In both cases, the violinist teams up with a group assembled by guitarist Lino Patruno, which at times has several horns (including baritone and flute) and a swinging rhythm section. Although the Italian players are fine, Joe Venuti is the main star on such numbers as "After You've Gone," "Jazz Me Blues," "Clementine," "Indiana" and a five-song Gershwin medley. Swinging and sometimes heated music.

Biography

Born: 16 September 1903 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

Although renowned as one of the world's great practical jokers (he once called a couple dozen bass players with an alleged gig and asked them to show up with their instruments at a busy street corner just so he could view the resulting chaos), Joe Venuti's real importance to jazz is as improvised music's first great violinist. He was a boyhood friend of Eddie Lang (jazz's first great guitarist) and the duo teamed up in a countless number of settings during the second half of the 1920s, including...
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