HOT NOTES TO YOU: JOE VENUTI’S BLUE FOUR at CARNEGIE HALL (Friday, June 27, 1975)

I believe I was in the second row for this, the first concert of the 1975 Newport Jazz Festival in New York (its fourth in this city and its twenty-second, for those keeping track) and I had my cassette recorder and better-quality microphone, the wire concealed in my blazer sleeve.  Not everything I recorded was priceless and not all of it has survived, but the rescued music has its own happy power.  The concert was a tribute to Bix Beiderbecke, featuring Marian McPartland, Johnny Mince, Warren Vache, John Glasel, and Bix’s replacement in the Wolverines, Jimmy McPartland, as well as veterans of the Jean Goldkette orchestra Spiegle Willcox, Bill Rank, and Chauncey Morehouse.

But the explosive high point of the evening for me was a right-here-right-now version of Joe Venuti’s Blue Four, featuring Zoot Sims, tenor saxophone, Bucky Pizzarelli, guitar, and the surviving member of that ad  hoc group, the durable Vince Giordano, bass saxophone.  Here’s how they sounded on CHINA BOY and no doubt an unscheduled encore, C JAM BLUES, with Venuti doing his unique “four-string Joe” party piece.  Dan Morgenstern tells me that he isn’t doing the introduction, so the cheerful announcer is mysterious to me, although it might well be Dick Sudhalter.  The photograph below comes from the Chiaroscuro Records compilation, JOE AND ZOOT AND MORE, also glorious:

The captured butterfly, still alive today.

May your happiness increase!

Bunk Johnson FB

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2 responses to “HOT NOTES TO YOU: JOE VENUTI’S BLUE FOUR at CARNEGIE HALL (Friday, June 27, 1975)

  1. Sonny McGown

    Dear Michael,
    Thanks for sharing these amazing live performances with us. Despite the fidelity, the musical energy and camaraderie are omnipresent throughout and the crowd certainly responded in kind. I recall that the seemingly odd pairing of Joe and Zoot first occurred at a Dick Gibson event in Colorado. Fortunately Hank O’Neal had the sageness to record these giants in a studio setting a few years later and preserve their collective efforts for all time. Those “Joe and Zoot” Chiaroscuro LPs and CDs are priceless treasures for all to hear.

  2. Jill Tierney

    wonderful sounds, love the beat!

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