Joe Venuti & Eddie Lang: Stringing The Blues - Their 52 Finest 1926-1933
Joe Venuti (1903-1978) and Salvatore Massaro, otherwise Eddie Lang (1902-1933) formed the most famous violin-guitar duo in jazz – a decade prior to Stéphane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt. Both Americans of Italian origin, each became a supreme master, Venuti as violinist, Lang as the first pioneer of the guitar as a solo voice in jazz as opposed to being simply a rhythm instrument. As a musical partnership they produced a whole string of jazz classics. Stringing The Blues brings together 52 of these, by now, great jazz standards from 1926-1933. Five are duo performances, such as the title track. Their small group format was as Joe Venuti’s Blue Four or Blue Five, when they joined by Adrian Rollini, Jimmy Dorsey and others (Dinah, I’ll Never Be The Same, Raggin’ The Scale). Four of these tracks stem from Eddie Lang’s last session before he died after undergoing a tonsillectomy at the age of just 30. The double CD set also offers three Eddie Lang solos (Eddie’s Twister) and four amazing duets as “Blind Willie Dunn” with Lonnie Johnson (Two-Tone Stomp) and Carl Kress (Pickin’ My Way), plus a couple with his own orchestra (Freeze And Melt). The programme is rounded off by a post-Lang session by Joe Venuti’s Blue Six, featuring Benny Goodman.