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Joe Venuti

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

Considered the father of jazz violin, he pioneered the use of string instruments in jazz along with the guitarist Eddie Lang, a friend since childhood. 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 to do 12- or 24-bar duos towards the end of otherwise stock dance arrangements. In 1926, Venuti and Lang started recording for the OKeh label as a duet (after a solitary duet issued on Columbia), followed by "Blue Four" combinations, which are considered milestone jazz recordings. Venuti also recorded commercial dance records for OKeh under the name "New Yorkers".

He worked with Benny Goodman, Adrian Rollini, the Dorsey Brothers, Bing Crosby, Bix Beiderbecke, Jack Teagarden, Frank Signorelli, the Boswell Sisters, and most of the other important white jazz and semi-jazz figures of the late 1920s and early 1930s. However, following Lang's death in 1933, Venuti's career began to wane, though he continued performing through the 1930s, recording a series of 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. Many of the 1920s OKeh sides continued to sell and remained in print through 1935 when ARC discontinued the OKeh label and reissued selected sides on the 35-cent Vocalion label (the OKeh label was revived by CBS in 1940).

After a period of relative obscurity in the 1940s and 1950s, Venuti played violin and other instruments with Jack Statham at the Desert Inn Hotel in Las Vegas. Statham headed several musical groups that played at the Desert Inn from late 1961 until 1965, including a Dixieland combo. Venuti was with him during that time, and was active with the Las Vegas Symphony Orchestra during the 1960s. 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. In 1976, he recorded an album of duets with pianist Earl Hines entitled Hot Sonatas. 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.

Birth and Death Data: Born September 16th, 1903 (Philadelphia;Lecco), Died Seattle

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1924 - 1950

Roles Represented in DAHR: violin, leader, composer, director, vocalist, songwriter

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 132 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor B-31206 10-in. 11/24/1924 I didn't know Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, violin  
Victor B-31207 10-in. 11/24/1924 I want to see my Tennessee Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, violin  
Victor B-31208 10-in. 11/24/1924 Remember Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, violin  
Victor B-31209 10-in. 11/25/1924 Play me slow Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, violin  
Victor B-31210 10-in. 11/25/1924 Honest and truly Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, violin  
Victor B-31211 10-in. 11/25/1924 What's the use of dreamin' Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, violin  
Victor B-31212 10-in. 11/25/1924 Adoration Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-36813 10-in. 10/12/1926 Idolizing Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-36814 10-in. 10/12/1926 I'd rather be the girl in your arms (Than the girl in your dreams) Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo (takes 5-8); with male vocal trio (takes 1-4) instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-36815 10-in. 10/12/1926 Hush-a-bye Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-36829 10-in. 10/15/1926 Sunday Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with mixed vocal chorus instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-36830 10-in. 10/15/1926 Cover me up with sunshine (And feather my nest with love) Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-36831 10-in. 10/15/1926 Just one more kiss Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-37579 10-in. 1/28/1927 Proud of a baby like you Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with mixed vocal trio instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-37580 10-in. 1/28/1927 I'm looking over a four leaf clover Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-37583 10-in. 1/31/1927 I'm gonna meet my sweetie now Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-37584 10-in. 1/31/1927 Hoosier sweetheart Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-37586 10-in. 2/1/1927 Look at the world and smile Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-37587 10-in. 2/1/1927 My pretty girl Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-37588 10-in. 2/1/1927 Stampede Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-37599 10-in. 2/3/1927 Sunny disposish Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal quartet instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-37738 10-in. 2/3/1927 A lane in Spain Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal quartet instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-38264 10-in. 5/16/1927 In my merry Oldsmobile Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-38267 10-in. 5/23/1927 Play it, Red Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, violin  
Victor BVE-40211 10-in. 9/15/1927 Blue river Jean Goldkette Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, violin  
(Results 1-25 of 132 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Venuti, Joe," accessed September 25, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103186.

Venuti, Joe. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved September 25, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103186.

"Venuti, Joe." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 25 September 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103186

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