The New York Sessions 1926-1935
The recordings of master jazz duo Eddie Lang and Joe Venuti have been compiled many times and in many ways, but never before as easily as JSP's four-disc box set The New York Sessions 1926-1935. While Mosaic still deserves pride of place for its massive set The Classic Columbia and OKeh Sessions (which doubles the number of discs), this set earns great notices because of its low price and high availability. Certainly this includes all of Lang and Venuti's best moments, most delivered under the studio rubric Joe Venuti's Blue Four -- with the help of talented friends like Adrian Rollini, Jimmy Dorsey, and Frank Signorelli. "The Blue Room," "Doin' Things," and "The Wild Dog" belied the frantic nature of much classic jazz; sides by Lang and Venuti called to mind adjectives like buoyant, pastoral, virtuosic, ones that hadn't previously been applied to recorded jazz. The New York Sessions 1926-1935 also adds many scattered sessions that didn't come out under their name, such as sidemen gigs for artists ranging from Cliff Edwards to Annette Hanshaw to bluesman Texas Alexander. Also appearing are a few excellent sides of guitar duets featuring Lonnie Johnson and Lang, who recorded under the name Blind Willie Dunn. All in all, it's a treasure trove of classic jazz for fans who've been unable to find this much material so easily.