Joe Venuti

The Fabulous Joe Venuti

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Whether (according to his own personal mythos) violinist Giuseppe "Joe" Venuti was born on a boat packed with Italian immigrants in 1903, or if like his friend Salvatore Massaro (better known as early jazz guitar virtuoso Eddie Lang) he was birthed and bred in South Philly, what's certain is that 40 years after Lang's tragic death following a botched tonsillectomy, a septuagenarian Venuti traveled to his ancestral homeland and made records with two Italian jazz groups led by guitarist Lino Patruno. Recorded in Milan on May 3, 1971 and September 13 and 14, 1974, and originally released on two Vanguard LPs (Joe Venuti in Milan and Jazz Violin) the material was reissued in one package in 1995. Surrounded by capable brass, reed, and rhythm players, the venerable Venuti whipped up 14 old-time jazz standards and a medley of themes by George Gershwin. These recordings complement the elderly fiddler's excellent comeback recordings for the Chiaroscuro, Concord and Flying Fish labels.

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