Andy Stein

Doin' Things

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More than any violinist of the past 20 years, Andy Stein has the ability to sound and play just like Joe Venuti. Doin' Things, a tribute to Venuti, is therefore a very logical project, and it is as successful and as exciting as one would expect. In addition to Stein, the lineup of musicians includes the versatile Dan Levinson on clarinet, alto, C-melody (where he emulates Frankie Trumbauer), and baritone, pianist David Boeddinghaus (best known for his association with Banu Gibson), guitarist Martin Wheatley, and Vince Giordano doubling on bass and bass sax (sounding like Adrian Rollini on the latter). Most of the selections were originally recorded in the late '20s/early '30s by Venuti in his small groups but there are some exceptions, including "Fit as a Fiddle," "Tennessee Lazy," "Sugar Foot Stomp," "St. Louis Shuffle," "Don't Be Like That," and two worthy originals by Stein, all played in the style of the Venuti Blue Five. The only unfortunate part of this tribute is that guitarist Wheatley does not sound much like Eddie Lang (particularly as a soloist), although his ensemble work is excellent. However, "Stringin' the Blues" and a medley of "Sunshine" and "Black and Blue Bottom" are duets by Stein and guitarist Matt Munisteri that come close to the Venuti-Lang sound. All in all, this CD is a joy that is highly recommended to classic jazz collectors.

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