168

Joe Venuti/Tony Romano: Never Before...Never Again

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
In today’s world, getting this many Italian-Americans together in one place probably violates some racketeering laws. But back in the early 1950s, come to think of it, was probably a crime too! Violinist Joe Venuti (1903-1978) achieved lasting jazz fame for his duets with guitarist Eddie Lang in the 1920s and 1930s. He worked with Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Hoagy Carmichael, Bing Crosby, Paul Whiteman, and Zoot Sims. In 1937 he met guitarist Tony Romano. Romano built a career as a guitarist/composer/arranger/singer/actor, touring with Bob Hope’s USO shows from World War II through Vietnam.

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


Shop

More Articles

Read Speechless CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Holiday On Fire CD/LP/Track Review Holiday On Fire
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Calvins Toboggan CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Silent Light CD/LP/Track Review Silent Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read PausaLive CD/LP/Track Review PausaLive
by Patrick Keyes
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "Ugly Beautiful" CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beautiful
by David A. Orthmann
Published: March 24, 2017
Read "Awakening" CD/LP/Track Review Awakening
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: January 5, 2017
Read "Warsaw Concert" CD/LP/Track Review Warsaw Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: December 4, 2016
Read "The Whistle Blower" CD/LP/Track Review The Whistle Blower
by Tyran Grillo
Published: May 23, 2016
Read "On Hollywood Boulevard" CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "A Night Walking Through Mirrors" CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 11, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!