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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Joe Venuti.........

From :

Joe Venuti was the first great violinist of Jazz. The music he made with Eddie Lang would later be a major influence on Django Reinhardt  and Stephane Grappelli in France. He was born aboard a ship as his parents emigrated from Italy and trained to be a classical violinist from an early age. He met Eddie Lang  in 1913 while attending school in Philadelphia and started a local group with him three years later. The two would go on to play and record with each other frequently up until Lang's death in 1933. Venuti played briefly with Red Nichols, toured with Jean Goldkette and played in the orchestra of many Broadway shows. He co-led a band with Eddie Lang off and on through most of the 1920's, that included Jimmy Dorsey, Red Nichols and Frank Signorelli of the Original Dixieland Jass Band. In 1929 he joined the Paul Whiteman Orchestra  but was injured in an auto accident; he was able to re-join the band in 1930. Venuti was able to keep working as a musician the rest of his life. He enjoyed a resurgence of interest in the 1970s.

From Wikipedia:

Giuseppe (Joe) Venuti (September 16, 1903 – August 14, 1978) was an Italian-American jazz musician and pioneer jazz violinist.

Joe Venuti claimed to have been born aboard a ship as his parents emigrated from Italy, though many believe he was simply born in Philadelphia. Later in life, he said he was born in Italy in 1896 and that he came to the U.S. in 1906.

Considered the father of jazz violin, he pioneered the use of string instruments in jazz along with the guitarist Eddie Lang, a childhood friend of his. Through the 1920s and early 1930s, Venuti and Lang made many recordings, as leader and as featured soloists. He and Lang became so well known for their 'hot' violin and guitar solos that on many commercial dance recordings they were hired do 12 or 24 bar solos towards the end of otherwise stock dance arrangements. In 1926, Venuti and Lang started recording for the OKeh label as a duet, followed by "Blue Four" combinations. Venuti also recorded a number of larger, more commercial dance records for OKeh under the name New Yorkers.

He worked with Benny Goodman, the Dorsey Brothers, Bing Crosby, Bix Beiderbecke, Jack Teagarden, the Boswell Sisters and most of the other important white jazz and semi-jazz figures of the late 1920s and early 1930s. Venuti and Lang recorded a series of milestone jazz records for the OKeh label during the 1920s. However, following Lang's early death in 1933, his career began to wane, though he continued performing through the 1930s, recording a series of excellent commercial dance records (usually containing a Venuti violin solo) for the dime store labels, OKeh and Columbia, as well as the occasional jazz small group sessions. He was also a strong early influence on western swing players like Cecil Brower, not to mention the fact that Lang and Venuti were the primary influences of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli.

Venuti was also a legendary practical joker (see Crosby's book). According to one source, every Christmas he sent Wingy Manone, a one-armed trumpet player, the same gift--one cufflink. He is said to have chewed up a violin he borrowed from bandleader Paul Whiteman, when still on stage after his own performance with Whiteman's band had finished.[1]

After a period of relative obscurity in the 1940s and 1950s, he was 'rediscovered' in the late 1960s. In the 1970s, he established a musical relationship with tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims that resulted in three recordings. He also recorded an entire album with country-jazz musicians including mandolinist Jethro Burns (of Homer & Jethro), pedal steel guitarist Curly Chalker and former Bob Wills sideman and guitarist Eldon Shamblin. Venuti died in Seattle, Washington, Bing Crosby's home town (Crosby refers to Venuti in his book, "Call Me Lucky").

Dig on this (I'm not going for major research on this today....just posting a bunch of Ventui tracks that I have in my possesion) Enjoy.........

Blue room 1928 (JV and his Blue Four)
Doin' things 1928 (Okeh 41133) (JV and his New Yorkers)
My honey's loving arms 1928 JV/Blue Four
Goin' home 1928 JV/Blue Four
That's the good old sunny South 1929 (JV and his New Yorkers)
I'm in seventh heaven 1929 (JV and his New Yorkers)
Little Pal 1929 (JV/New Yorkers)
Chant of the jungle 1929 (New Yorkers)
Wonderful Something 1929 (New Yorkers)
Runnin' Ragged (Joe Ventuti's Blue Four) 1929
Apple blossoms  (Joe Ventuti's Blue Four) 1929
Put and take (Joe Ventuti's Blue Four) 1930
Promises (JV/ His New Yorkers 1930)
Dancing with Tears in My Eyes (JV/ His New Yorkers 1930)
I am Only Human After All (JV/ His New Yorkers 1930)
Out of Breath (JV/ His New Yorkers 1930)
Wasting My Love on You (JV & His Orchestra 1930)
My Man From Caroline 1930 (Victor 23015-A) JV & His Orchestra  V=Irene Beasley
I Like a LIttle Girl Like That (JV & His Orchestra 1930)
Fit As A Fiddle (Annette Hanshaw & Her Sizzlin' Syncopaters/joe venuti/eddie lang) 1932
I Like What You Like (Joe Venuti & Annette Hanshaw) 1927 OH, WOW!! I THINK I FOUND MY BLOG THEME SONG!! :)
Under the Moon (Annette and the JV Orch)
Deep Harlem Mills Hotsy-Totsy (Bix Beiderbecke, Jack Teagarden & Joe Venuti, et al.)
Beale Street Blues JV Orch Jack Teagarden, Eddie Lang & Joe Venuti-(1931)
Because My Baby Don't Mean 'Maybe' Now 1928 (Okeh 41056) JV Orch.
Doing Things (alt version) JV/Blue Four 1928
Hiawatha's Lullaby  JV/Blue Four 1933
Jig Saw Puzzle 1933 JV/Blue Four
Kickin' The Cat JV/Blue Four 1927
My blue heaven JV Orch
Send Me 1935 JV Orch
Stringin' the blues w/ Eddie Lang 1926
Sweet Lorraine JV/Blue Four 1933
The Man from the south 1928 JV/Bue Four
To to blues 1931 JV Orch
I'm somebodies somebody now w/ Annette Hanshaw voc
Black and Blue Bottom Joe Venuti & Eddie Lang NYC 09/29/26
Dinah 1928 JV/Blue Four
Farewell blues JV Orch
Pink elephants JV/Blue Four  1933
Raggin' the scale 1930 JV/Blue Four
Someday sweetheart JV Orch
Four String Joe (1927) JV Orch
I've Found a New Baby JV/Blue Four 1930
Wildcat w/ Eddie Lang 1926
Almost like being in love (later recording w/ George Barnes)
Hindustan (later recrding with George Barnes)
Lover (later recording with Geo. Barnes....just putting these few cuts on to showcase his later work)
Little girl 1931 Harold Arlen voc JV/Blue Four
Sensation JV/Blue Four 1928
Saving My Love For You (this was on the Kay Starr list the other day...Kay Starr voc)
I'll never be the same (w/ Stephane Grappelli)


  1. Joe played on Leon Redbone's first album and played very tastefully at that. He used to put little bean bags in a friend's double bass, until the man could barely lift it.

  2. That's hilarious! I'd not heard that one about the bean bags. I did know that he pranked folks, though. Thanks or reminding me of that Leon Redbone LP....I haven't heard that one in awhile...I'll have to dig that out again. :)

  3. I ws at my Fathers grave the other day and saw a new BEAUTIFUL memorial next to had the names VENUTI...Joe and Peggy...the name was happy I found this page..the memorial has a guitar on it and I hd went to the grave to tell my father I was finally in love..with a professional guitarist....

  4. Wow...a guitar instead of a violin? that's interesting. Cool that you saw the memorial :)