From the Record Shelves #217

The Wild Dog

CD JSP Records JSPCD 309

A big department store in the center of town was closing down at the beginning of the 1990s. It was my favorite place to buy records, so it was sad. Now they had made up a plan to get rid of their stock; they lowered the prices, going down from the original price by 10 or 20 percent every week. I had my eyes on the two volumes of Venuti-Lang on JSP hoping that they would stay there until the very last ones. Since I already had much of the material on LP, I did not want to pay the full price. And I was lucky; I made a bargain, but if we speak about the actual music on those CDs, I would like to call it priceless.

The interplay between Joe Venuti on violin and Eddie Lang on guitar has hardly ever been equaled. To match them in a small group, you really need to have some of the best musicians. In this recording it’s Rube Bloom at the piano and then Don Murray on baritone sax, using the whole register of his instrument.

There are a lot of things to enjoy: lyricism, virtuosity, changing of tempo, and swing.

Joe Venuti’s Blue Four have given me a good start on many days over the years.