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Larry Fine: Larry Fine Meets Stuff Smith: Fine Stuff

Ken Dryden By

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Larry Fine was often shown playing the violin in various The Three Stooges shorts, but what many fans don't realize is that he really played the instrument. Fortunately, he was also interested in jazz and an admirer of Stuff Smith. This long forgotten radio broadcast likely originated from a Hollywood club during one of the recording bans put in place by James J. Petrillo in the 1940s. It was so obscure that even Anthony Barnett, Stuff Smith discographer and owner of the jazz violin label AB Fable, was unaware of its existence. He tried to acquire it to issue it himself, though the Japanese collector who stumbled across these performances decided to issue it himself.

The music is quite enjoyable, with Fine generally soloing first to avoid being overshadowed by the talented Smith. It's only natural that they would play "Three Blind Mice," which was the theme song for many of the Three Stooges' film shorts, this version is full of fun and hot solos. Dvorak's "Humoresque" was of great interest to jazz musicians with a classical background (especially Art Tatum), and this version does not disappoint.

Most of the rest of the date includes standards from the 1930s and 1940s, though Fine joins Smith in the jive vocal fun of the latter's hit song "I'se A-Muggin.'" The rhythm section is first rate, with pianist Teddy Wilson, bassist John Simmons and drummer Cozy Cole, with guitarist Les Paul sitting in for the exciting finale of "Caravan" that stretches for an incredible twelve minutes. While the sound exhibits some wear from the source material and audience noise, it will be of great interest to fans of jazz violin, though its limited distribution in North America will make it hard to acquire.

Track Listing: Three Blind Mice; My Blue Heaven; Humoresque; Ain't She Sweet; I Know That You Know; Honeysuckle Rose; I'se A-Muggin'; Caravan.

Personnel: Larry Fine: violin, vocals; Stuff Smith: violin, vocals; Teddy Wilson: piano; John Simmons: bass; Cozy Cole: drums; Les Paul: electric guitar.

Title: Larry Fine Meets Stuff Smith: Fine Stuff | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Shigatsubaka

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