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THE INSTRUMENTS, THE SOUNDS, THE PERFORMERS
were followed by Ray Nance, the Ellington trumpeter who, doubling now and then on violin, showed signs of blending some of the more desirable attributes of all three forebears.
Combining the academic knowledge of Venuti with the earthy swing of Stuff Smith, an amazing young Dane, Svend Asmussen, has earned warm endorsements from visiting American jazzmen for the last twenty years, among them Fats Waller and Benny Goodman. Because Asmussen has refused offers of lucrative work in the United States, it is unlikely that his name will earn the place it deserves in jazz annals. An attempt to find evidence of his full jazz potential on the many recordings he has made is a task comparable to looking for Shakespearean drama in a burlesque theater, since Asmussen has always led a novelty combo and has kept his genuine jazz solos at a minimum.
Several other violinists have played first class mainstream jazz, notably Ginger Smock, a gifted soloist whose electric violin has long been bogged down in the rock-and-roll quagmire; the late Ray Perry, who played saxophone and violin in Lionel Hamp-tons 1940 band; Stephane Grappelly and Michel Warlop, heard on the more interesting French jazz records of the late 1930s; the saxophonist Ernie Caceres* brother Emilio, unhappily localized in a non-recording area of Texas; and John Frigo, a bassist whose infrequent appearances on violin have indicated a genuine and modern talent.
The post-1940 developments in jazz have been effectively captured by Dick Wetmore, who may in due course gain acceptance as the first bop violinst; and by Harry Lookofsky, best known for some multi-track records on which he played several string parts.
The use of the violin section per se in jazz has long been an anomaly. A few violinists, including Sam Kaplan, who worked in the "Charlie Parker with Strings" group on several occasions, have contrived to whip into adequate jazz shape a group of string performers not accustomed to working in this field; generally, though, both in writing and performance, the level of string section work in jazz has been low.
The Hammond organ has been a welcome but reluctant guest at the jazz table since the late 1930s, when records by Milt Herth