Venuti, Joe (jazz) [Giuseppe ]
- Barry Kernfeld
(b Philadelphia, Sept 16, 1903; d Seattle, Aug 14, 1978). Violinist. An irrepressible practical joker, he delighted in giving out incorrect information about his life, including false statements about his place and date of birth, which John Chilton finally identified conclusively. Other facts of Venuti’s career are necessarily somewhat shaky owing to this impishness. He grew up in Philadelphia, where he learned solfeggio from his grandfather and studied classical violin, but devoted himself to popular music. He also formed a longstanding musical partnership there with Eddie Lang. They separated temporarily in 1924 when Lang joined the Mound City Blue Blowers and Venuti traveled to Detroit to play with Jean Goldkette; he recorded with Goldkette and directed the Book-Cadillac Hotel Orchestra, one of several of the leader’s dance bands. After playing in Atlantic City, New Jersey (summer 1925), Venuti moved to New York, where he and Lang worked with Roger Wolfe Kahn’s dance orchestra (...