Jeremy Cohen & Friends

by | Feb 28, 2007 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Jeremy Cohen & Friends – Celebrate Joe Venuti 100 Years

Performers: Jeremy Cohen’s Violin Jazz Quartet – Jeremy Cohen, Larry Dunlap, Dix Bruce, Jim Kerwin; with guests Paul Anatasio, Dean Reilly, Paul Mehling, Robert Young
Studio: Elfenworks/VAI Video Artists International 4315
Video: 4:3 color
Audio: PCM Stereo
No region code
Extras: Slide show, bios, photos
Length: 73 minutes
Rating: ****

This DVD should be complete delight to anyone into hot violin, and especially fans of the late Joe Venuti, the first great jazz violinist. During the live staged concert some photos from Venuti’s long career as a jazz violinist (he died in 1978) are projected – including his early partnership with guitarist Eddie Lang, his touring with Red Nichols and Jean Goldkette, and later work with Jimmy Dorsey and the Paul Whiteman Orchestra. More can be accessed in the DVD’s slide show option. Venuti had been a major influence on Stephane Grappelli with Django Reinhardt. He also appeared in several Hollywood movies, including King of Jazz (1930) [clips from it Here] and Peter Kelly’s Blues (1955). Later some home movies of Venuti are shown.

Cohen’s style will closely remind fans of Venuti’s.  The concert begins simply with just violin and piano on the first two numbers. Then gradually other musicians are added until the final couple of tunes with the whole band and guests.  Cohen’s fellow violinist in the group does on fun tune with the bow strings separated from the bow itself (the bow moving under the violin). There is also a great 1930s-sounding duo with Cohen accompanied by a giant contrabass saxophone such as often played by Adrian Rollini on recordings of that time.  Some of the tunes are originals from Cohen, and they’re great. The video coverage is not terribly creative and only 4:3 format, but is of the highest resolution with good lighting thruout, while the PCM audio is clean and converts well to Pro Logic II surround.

TrackList: Kickin’ the Cat, Runnin’ Ragged, Doin’ Things, In a Sentimental Mood, Oh Lady Be Good!, Humoresque, Wild Dog, Goin’ Places, Satan’s Holiday, All of Me, Sweet Lorraine.

 – John Henry


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