Svend Asmussen is the last of the great swing violinists who emerged during the '30s. The Fiddling Viking" turns 94 on Feb. 28th, splitting time between his native Denmark and Sarasota, Florida. Recently the violinist performed at the Second Annual Arbors Records Invitational Jazz Party and released new CDs, one a compilation on Storyville (Rhythm Is Our Business) of his '50s Danish quintet recordings and the other made just last year for Arbors, Makin´ Whoopee...and Music!. There is also a DVD on Shanachie (The Extraordinary Life and Music Of A Jazz Legend) that features an extensive interview with him and ...read more
Once, as they were jamming, Duke Ellington's drummer Sam Woodyard called out to Danish violinist Svend Asmussen, Man, you play your ass off," to which The Fiddling Viking replied, with that charmingly naïvely innocent wit so typical of his homeland, From now on then my name is only Mussen." There is just one Svend Asmussen and today, at the age of 93, he is a Danish national treasure, but let's assume, as the above anecdote implies, that in his prime he was two people. One--call him Mussen--was a world class jazzman, playing with Benny Goodman, Ellington and ...read more
While striving to avoid clichés like the plague, there seems only one way to describe Danish jazz violinist Svend Asmussen: he is still going strong. At the age of 92, the fiddling Viking" is embarking on a 2008 tour of Scandinavia. Fiddling Around, recorded when he was a mere slip of a lad, age 77, has been re-released by the small Gothenburg label Imogena to mark the event. Listening to it, it seems such a drag that Asmussen turned down an offer from Benny Goodman in the late 1930s to join one of his small groups. The ...read more
The Danish Gypsy Soul of Svend Asmussen...
Svend Asmussen is an 86-year-old Dane who has been sawing on his fiddle since the mid-1930s. Listening to Still Fiddling one would never know Asmussen was 86, but one would surmise he has 60 plus years of experience doing what he does. Asmussen has played and recorded with the cream of the swing era. He has crossed paths with Fats Waller, the Mills Brothers, Duke Ellington; Benny Goodman; Toots Theileman, and even Stephane Grappelli. For having performed for so long, Mr. Asmussen has a modest discography, making this release that much more important ...read more
Fiddlin' Around. The violin has a long and prominent tradition in jazz, starting with the swing of Stuff Smith through the fusion of Michael Urbaniak. Svend Asmussen shares the page in the jazz style book between Smith and Stephane Grappelli. He recorded his first sides in 1935 and became widely popular in his native Denmark. He recorded with Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, John Lewis, Toots Theilemans and Lionel Hampton. This present disc finds Asmussen captured live with his quartet in 1996. The then 80 year old was quite spry.
dacapo. Fit as a Fiddle was released by decapo records in ...read more