Bringing together their shared knowledge of early jazz styles and improvisation, Emma Fisk (violin) and James Birkett (guitar) present an entertaining, virtuosic and informative programme of music associated with and inspired by the first great jazz violin and guitar partnership of Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang.
The names of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli are familiar to many as pioneers of string-based swing jazz. Less universally known are the names Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang, the Italian-American duo who played hot violin and guitar jazz in the 1920s and 30s until cut short by Lang’s untimely death in 1933. Joe Venuti has been referred to as ‘the father of jazz violin and was a leader in the development of jazz violin techniques and style, while his musical partner Eddie Lang is widely regarded as the first jazz guitar virtuoso.
Bringing together their shared knowledge of early jazz styles and improvisation, Emma Fisk and James Birkett present an entertaining, virtuosic and informative programme of music associated with and inspired by the first great jazz violin and guitar partnership. A typical performance includes original compositions by Venuti/Lang including Cheese & Crackers, Sunshine, Black and Blue Bottom; jazz standards of the 20s and 30s such as Pardon Me Pretty Baby, Hiawatha’s Lullaby, My Honey’s Lovin’ Arms, Dinah and I’ve Found A New Baby ; original compositions that explore the duo’s soundworld, and some of James and Emma’s favourite tunes played a la Joe and Eddie.
Emma Fisk has attracted critical acclaim for her performances of Venuti’s repertoire at UK jazz festivals and was featured in the musical role of Joe Venuti with The Jazz Repertory Company at Cadogan Hall as part of the 2015 London Jazz Festival. James has been performing Lang’s repertoire since he was introduced to this music in the late-70s. However, it is only now that he has realised his ambition to recreate the duo repertoire of Lang and Venuti in concert in the original duo setting with Emma.
Dazzling violinist Fisk plays the classic early fiddle jazz of Joe Venuti with guitarist James Birkett.” – Guardian Guide, Editor’s Picks
“…the brilliant Emma Fisk played the (musical) role of Joe Venuti..” – Alyn Shipton, BBC Radio 3
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