Dick Hyman

Runnin' Ragged

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Pianist Dick Hyman is joined by the classically trained violinist Stan Kurtis for this remarkable tribute to the late jazz violinist Joe Venuti. Although Venuti was often overlooked for his contributions to jazz (his irrepressible humor and constant practical jokes probably didn't endear him to a lot of folks), he was a masterful violinist when he sat down to play. Venuti was also classically trained and was able to incorporate formal techniques into his improvisations. Hyman and Kurtis sought to honor Venuti by capturing the spirit of his recordings without simply trying to transcribe and re-create them. The dozen originals are all Venuti's, maintaining a link with the past as the duo updates them for the '80s. Sadly, the demise of the Pro Arte label has made this delightful CD a great deal harder to find.