From the Record Shelves #83

Really Blue

LP RCA Black & White vol.118 FPM1 7016

On the LP we find a couple of classic Venuti-Lang recordings in two takes each which is good for comparison. Their routines are well worked out with virtuoso playing and the capacity to fill three minutes with plenty of notes.

The rest of the tracks have with time become less known with the danger of being forgotten, and I have chosen one such item.

I don’t think that Joe Venuti’s Blue Four ever appeared in front of a public, but it must have been a great show to see them jump from one instrument to another. The “hot strings” duo Eddie Lang (real name Salvatore Massaro) on guitar and Joe Venuti on violin, sometimes doubling on piano and bass are joined by Frank Signorelli on piano and a fourth musician that usually was a read player and multi instrumentalist. On the most spectacular recordings it’s Adrian Rollini playing bass sax, piano and his special instruments hot fountain pen and goofus. Sometimes Jimmy Dorsey with alto sax, clarinet and cornet was the man. He also played baritone sax like another clarinet player Don Murray who also recorded with the group. The tune that is chosen here is essentially the same that was earlier recorded twice under different names, one with Rollini and one were Frankie Trumbauer played bassoon.

But I think that when Adrian Rollini was not around they preferred the combination of baritone sax and clarinet that we hear on Really Blue and on this day October 7, 1930 another of the best reed players was called in. Pete Pumiglio played with the California Ramblers, and then on many studio recordings and later he was a member of Raymond Scott’s experimental orchestra, a job where he really got use for his good skills. He died at 94 years of age in 1996.