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Friday, February 10, 2017

Svend Asmussen (February 28, 1916 - February 7, 2017)

Not many jazz musicians reach the age of 100 but Svend Asmussen almost made it to 101 - almost!
The virtuoso Danish jazz violinist died on February 7 only 3 weeks short of his birthday. He left behind a vast recorded legacy both in Scandinavia and in America. I have a DVD - The Last Performance of  Benny Goodman - in which Svend is featured and he more than holds his own with the King of Swing. The DVD refers to it as being recorded at the Tivoli in Sweden but, on the many YouTube clips of the session, the venue is given as the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen which seems the more likely.
He was a great player comparable with Grappelli and all the other top notch fiddlers and he recorded with several of them including Ray Nance, Jean-Luc Ponty, Stuff Smith and, of course, Grappelli.
Musically active up until about 5 years ago when a stroke caused his retirement, Asmussen will be remembered as one of the all-time greats of his instrument.
Sadly missed. Rest in Peace.
Lance.

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