Pioneers in the early development of the violin and guitar as jazz instruments, Joe Venuti & Eddie Lang made music that can best be described as friendly and inventive. This Living Era compilation presents a chronologically arranged series of their best recordings made between November 1926 and February 1933. As a sort of encore, the producers have added four tracks recorded in October of 1931 featuring Benny Goodman and the brothers Teagarden. Venuti/Lang's "Stringing the Blues" sets the stage for a satisfying procession of hot jazz performances made enjoyably remarkable by each player's ingenuity. The cast of characters includes Red Nichols and Miff Mole, tuba titan Joe Tarto, multi-instrumentalists Adrian Rollini, Jimmy Dorsey, and the brave Frankie Trumbauer, who conducts a facile experiment in hot bassoon improvisation. In addition to Jack Teagarden's smooth blue crooning, there is a sweet vocal by Harold Arlen and bursts of lively scat sung by pianist Rube Bloom can be heard. Anyone seeking the perfect example of Joe Venuti & Eddie Lang at their beatific best will find it in their delicate rendering of Frank Signorelli's lovely opus "I'll Never Be the Same." The only flaw in the entire package occurs in the liner notes, which erroneously state that Joe Venuti died in 1974. While his date of birth will never be firmly established, there is little doubt that Fiddler Joe passed away in August of 1978.
Wild Cats Review
by arwulf arwulf