Giuseppe (Joe) Venuti (September 16, 1903 – August 14, 1978) was an Italian-American jazz musician and pioneer jazz violinist.
Joe Venuti claimed to have been born aboard a ship as his parents emigrated from Italy, though many believe he was simply born in Philadelphia. Later in life, he said he was born in Italy in 1896 and that he came to the U.S. in 1906.
Considered the father of jazz violin, he pioneered the use of string instruments in jazz along with the guitarist Eddie Lang, a childhood friend of his. Through the 1920s and early 1930s, Venuti and Lang made many recordings, as leader and as featured soloists. He and Lang became so well known for their 'hot' violin and guitar solos that on many commercial dance recordings they were hired do 12 or 24 bar duos towards the end of otherwise stock dance arrangements. In 1926, Venuti and Lang started recording for the OKeh label as a duet, followed by "Blue Four" combinations, which are considered milestone jazz recordings. Venuti also recorded a number of larger, more commercial dance records for OKeh under the name New Yorkers.
He worked with Benny Goodman, the Dorsey Brothers, Bing Crosby, Bix Beiderbecke, Jack Teagarden, the Boswell Sisters and most of the other important white jazz and semi-jazz figures of the late 1920s and early 1930s. However, following Lang's early death in 1933, his career began to wane, though he continued
performing through the 1930s, recording a series of excellent commercial dance records (usually containing a Venuti violin solo) for the dime store labels, OKeh and Columbia, as well as the occasional jazz small group sessions. He was also a strong early influence on western swing players like Cecil Brower, not to mention the fact that Lang and Venuti were the primary influences of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. (Many of the 1920's OKeh sides continue to sell through 1935, when ARC reissued selected sides on the 35 cent Vocalion label.)
Venuti was also a legendary practical joker (see Crosby's book). According to one source, every Christmas he sent Wingy Manone, a one-armed trumpet player, the same gift—one cufflink. He is said to have chewed up a violin he borrowed from bandleader Paul Whiteman, when still on stage after his own performance with Whiteman's band had finished.
After a period of relative obscurity in the 1940s and 1950s, Venuti played violin and other instruments with Jack Statham at the Desert Inn Hotel in Las Vegas. Statham headed several musical groups that played at the Desert Inn from late 1961 until 1965, including a Dixieland combo. Venuti was with him during that time, and was active with the Las Vegas Symphony Orchestra during the 1960s. He was 'rediscovered' in the late 1960s. In the 1970s, he established a musical relationship with tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims that resulted in three recordings. In 1976, he recorded an album of duets with pianist Earl Hines entitled Hot Sonatas. He also recorded an entire album with country-jazz musicians including mandolinist Jethro Burns (of Homer & Jethro), pedal steel guitarist Curly Chalker and former Bob Wills sideman and guitarist Eldon Shamblin. Venuti died in Seattle, Washington.
Giuseppe (Joe) Venuti ( * 16 de septiembre de 1903 – 14 de agosto de 1978) fue un músico de jazz estadounidense y un pionero violinista de jazz.
Venuti habría nacido a bordo del buque donde sus padres emigraban de Italia, aunque se cree que simplemente nació en Filadelfia.
Más tarde afirmaba haber nacido directamente en Italia en 1896 y haber llegado a EE.UU. en 1906. Considerado el padre del violín jazz, él fue el primero en usar instrumentos de cuerdas en el jazz con el guitarrista Eddie Lang, un amigo de la infancia.
En los 1920s y a principios de los 1930s, Venuti hizo muchas grabaciones como solista. Él trabajó con Benny Goodman, los Dorsey Brothers, Bing Crosby, Jack Teagarden, las Boswell Sisters y muchas otras importantes figuras del jazz en los años 20's y 30's. Lastimosamente su amigo Eddie Lang murió en 1933, con lo que su carrera se vino abajo. Ha sido una gran influencia para muchas intérpretes actuales de jazz.
Tras un período de olvido en los 1940s y 1950s, volvió a la fama en los 1960s. En los 1970s, empezó a trabajar con el saxofonista Zoot Sims con quien logró un éxito medio. Luego grabó un disco con Jethro Burns, Homer & Jethro), el guitarrista Curly Chalker y el músico Eldon Shamblin. Venuti murió en la ciudad de Seattle, Washington.