Tag Archives: The King of Jazz

78: “The Wild Dog” b/w “Dinah” by Joe Venuti’s Blue Four. Okeh 41025. Recorded in New York City, March 28, 1928.

Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

Considered the father of jazz violin, Joe Venuti pioneered the use of string instruments in jazz, with considerable help from childhood friend, guitarist Eddie Lang. The two of them met in their school orchestra’s violin section and would reconnect in 1925 while they were both pursuing gigs in dance bands and broadway orchestra pits. Only now Lang, having changed his name from Salvatore Massaro, had also changed his primary instrument to that of guitar. None other than Django Reinhardt would later claim Lang as a big influence on his own playing, so changing things up clearly paid off.

Joe and Eddie would soon play with such luminaries as Red Nichols, Bix Beiderbecke and Frankie Trumbauer, and by 1927 they were leading their own bands, including Joe Venuti’s Blue Four, which created the little number featured here.

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