Joe Venuti/Tony Romano: Never Before...Never Again
This recording is actually two dates. The first eight tracks come from a duo organized by Johnny Mercer in 1954. Venuti and Romano seem to read each other’s thoughts easily sliding into these standards and original tunes. In today’s hip multi-ethnic culture we would marvel at the diversity of Romano’s Italian arrangement of the traditional “Angelina.” Back then, the two friends merely played the familiar. Venuti’s violin playing weaves the European with swing fiddle. No guitar face here, it’s all love.
The remainder of the disc was from a 1953 session sans Venuti plus a lengthy interview with Tony Romano. Romano displays a deft talent at song, sounding like a Sinatra crooner with a Dean Martin delivery. Back when jazz and popular (pop?) music went hand-in-hand, a good melody or sweet delivery made careers. Guys like Venuti and Romano probably won’t be mentioned in Ken Burns’ PBS jazz spectacle, but they were important pieces in our American story of jazz music.
Track Listing: You Know You Belong To Someone Else; Feeling Free An Easy; Almost Like Being In Love; Autumn Leaves; I Want To Be Happy; Summertime; I Remember Joe; Angelina; Interview With Tony Romano; New England In The Fall; It
Personnel: Joe Venuti
Style: Dixieland/New Orleans/Swing