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Eddie Lang & Joe Venuti - Farewell Blues (1931)

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Published on Jun 22, 2012

Born and raised in an Italian-American neighborhood in South Philadelphia, Guiseppe [Joe] Venuti (1903-1978) met guitarist Eddie Lang when he was ten years old. The two soon became fast friends and musical collaborators. After falling in love with jazz, Venuti and Lang started a band while in high school, and pioneered the use of the violin and guitar as jazz instruments while playing in the clubs and dance halls of Philadelphia.
In 1924, Venuti moved to Detroit to join Jean Goldkette's popular dance band, then rejoined Lang in New York the following year. Venuti and Lang joined the Paul Whiteman Orchestra, the nation's most popular band,in 1929. During this time they also periodically teamed up to release their joint recordings, and employed some of the best musicians of the day to accompany them, including Benny Goodman, Jimmy & Tommy Dorsey, Bud Freeman, Glenn Miller, and Jack & Charlie Teagarden.
After Eddie Lang died from blood loss during a botched tonsillectomy in 1933, Venuti started his own big band. By the mid-1930s, however, he had faded from the spotlight, in part because of his excessive fondness for, and dependence upon, alcohol. In the early 1950s he was a regular on Bing Crosby's national radio show. After moving to Los Angeles he continued to play in local clubs. In 1967, Venuti played some brilliant solos at Dick Gibson's Colorado Jazz Party and enjoyed a new wave of recognition and popularity. Despite his poor health, Venuti released a series of superb records and continued to work as a musician until his death from cancer in 1978.

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