Joe Venuti

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Fiddlesticks Review

by Scott Yanow

This CD combines together five complete sessions, some of violinist Joe Venuti's finest recordings from the 1930s. Venuti, guitarist Eddie Lang, trumpeter Charlie Teagarden, trombonist Jack Teagarden, and clarinetist Benny Goodman team together for four classics ("Beale Street Blues," "After You've Gone," "Farewell Blues," and "Someday Sweetheart"), Jimmy Dorsey and Adrian Rollini constantly switch instruments on their wild meeting with Venuti and Lang, the violinist is heard on two obscure but worthy dates from 1935, and the only four recordings made by his unsuccessful big band (titled "Flip," "Flop," "Something," and "Nothing") wrap up this essential CD. Venuti would spend 30 years in obscurity (due partly to his alcoholism), but he is heard very much at the peak of his powers throughout this essential CD.