Italian-American jazz musician and pioneer jazz violinist Giuseppe (Joe) Venuti was born on September 16,1903 in Philadelphia.
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 that 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 made many recordings, as leader and as featured soloist. 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 solos 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. 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. Venuti and Lang recorded a series of milestone jazz records for the Okeh label during the 1920s. 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 Taylor and Brower, not to mention the fact that Lang and Venuti were the primary influences of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli.
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, 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. He also recorded an entire album with country-jazz musicians including mandolinist Jethro Burns (of Homer and Jethro), pedal steel guitarist Curly Chalker and former Bob Wills sideman and guitarist Eldon Shamblin.
Venuti died in Seattle, Washington, Bing Crosby's home town (Crosby refers to Venuti in his book, "Call Me Lucky") in 1978.
Reference - Wikipédia