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Debut of a Legend

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Album Review

Violinist Johnny Frigo's third album as a leader (he had previously made a forgotten date for Mercury in 1957 and a Chesky CD in 1988) is his definitive set, even though he was 77 at the time. With a good supporting cast (guitarist Gene Bertoncini, Bob Kindred on tenor and clarinet, pianist Joe Vito, bassist Michael Moore, and drummer Bill Goodwin), Frigo mostly explores standards, plus two of his originals. The music, falling between swing and bop, is superior straight-ahead jazz; among the highlights are "Get Happy," "Bow Jest," "Jitterbug Waltz," and "Jeannine." Frigo's sudden prominence in his '70s (considering he spent most of his career as a bassist) was as unlikely and welcome an event as trumpeter Doc Cheatham's late-period triumphs.

Biography

Born: December 27, 1916 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Johnny Frigo has really had two careers. He started out playing violin in grammar school and after switching to tuba in order to play in his junior high school band, he took up the bass. Frigo started playing professionally as a bassist in 1934 and had some low-profile jobs until joining Jimmy Dorsey in the mid-'40s. In 1947, he formed a trio with guitarist Herb Ellis and pianist Lou Carter, called Soft Winds, that was popular for a few years; they co-wrote "Detour Ahead" and "I Told Ya I Love Ya,...
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Debut of a Legend, Johnny Frigo
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