Svend Asmussen Quartet / Svend Asmussen

Fit as a Fiddle

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Although somewhat overshadowed in the jazz world by fellow violinist Stephane Grappelli, Svend Asmussen has maintained a strong following of his own (particularly in Europe) over many decades. This live CD combines parts of three separate concerts recorded in Sweden and Denmark in 1996; Asmussen's first-rate quartet includes guitarist Jacob Fischer, bassist Jesper Lundgaard (who else engineered and edited this release), and drummer Aage Tanggaard. The violinist leans toward older material, though his approach to these time-tested songs is consistently fresh and adventurous. "Running Wild" showcases the quartet to good advantage, with incredible runs and a pizzicato duet with Lundgaard; Fletcher Henderson's "Wrapping It Up" hasn't been swung so well since the heyday of Benny Goodman. Both Jerome Richardson's funky "Groove Merchant" and a slowly savored Brazilian arrangement of "A Night in Tunisia" feature the leader utilizing a wah-wah effect to give him a very different sound than one typically expects. Any fan of jazz violin should look for this rewarding CD.

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