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Joe Venuti (September 16, 1903 – August 14, 1978) was the first great violinist of Jazz. The music he made with Eddie Lang would later be a major influence on Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli in France. He was born aboard a ship as his parents emigrated from Italy and trained to be a classical violinist from an early age.

He met Eddie Lang in 1913 while attending school in Philadelphia and started a local group with him three years later. The two would go on to play and record with each other frequently up until Lang’s death in 1933. Venuti played briefly with Red Nichols, made his first recordings with Jean Goldkette and played in the orchestra of many Broadway shows.

He co-led a band with Eddie Lang off and on through most of the 1920’s, that included Jimmy Dorsey, Red Nichols and Frank Signorelli of the Original Dixieland Jass Band. In 1929 he joined the Paul Whiteman Orchestra but was injured in an auto accident; he was able to re-join the band in 1930. Venuti was able to keep working as a musician the rest of his life. He enjoyed a resurgence of interest in the 1970s.

Check out for some cool pictures of Joe Venuti.

band or session leader

Joe Venuti’s Blue Four/Five/SixJoe Venuti and his Orchestra
Joe Venuti and Eddie LangJoe Venuti’s Rhythm Boys
Joe Venuti and his New YorkersJoe Venuti, Eddie Lang and their All-Star Orchestra

King Of JazzJohn Murray Anderson1930
Garden of the MoonBusby Berkeley1938
SyncopationWilliam Dieterle1943
Sing, Helen, SingWilliam Dieterle1942
Belle of Old MexicoR.G. Springsteen1950
Disc JockeyWill Jason1951
Pete Kelly’s BluesJack Webb1955


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