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 The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Caipi" CD/LP/Track Review Caipi
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 9, 2017
Read "D-Stringz" CD/LP/Track Review D-Stringz
by James Nadal
Published: February 25, 2016
Read "Trajectoire" CD/LP/Track Review Trajectoire
by Barry O'Sullivan
Published: March 16, 2016
Read "The Third Decade" CD/LP/Track Review The Third Decade
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 16, 2016
Read "La Diversité" CD/LP/Track Review La Diversité
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 31, 2017
Read "Brain//Child" CD/LP/Track Review Brain//Child
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 24, 2016

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!

Buy it!