A Jazz Violin Treasure!!
L. J. Allen | Atlanta, GA United States | 12/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
The incredible Eddie South (1904-1962) graduated from the Chicago Music College, and his playing indicates that he trained as a classical violinist. During the 1920s, however, it was unheard of for any orchestra to hire a Black violinist, even one that ranked as a child prodigy. South made the decision to play jazz and eventually recorded with violinist Stephane Grappelli and guitar wizard Django Reinhardt in Paris during the late 1930s. South continued to play but never enjoyed much commercial success. This CD, however, should remedy some of his obscurity.
Highlights on this particular CD are BLUES IN THE NIGHT, DEEP PURPLE, CHEROKEE, and a particularly swinging version of RHAPSODY IN BLUE. Another added bonus of this compilation is the sparkling piano work of a then very young Billy Taylor. While South's classical flourishes might occasionally come across as too ornamented for some fans of the Jazz violin, one would be hard pressed to find any violinist with greater improvisational skills, particularly one who predated the Bebop era. Every track on this CD proves that South was/is an overlooked and underrated virtuoso."