Born in 1904, Eddie South was one of the most highly regarded jazz violinists of his time. A classical violin prodigy, he switched to jazz because of limited opportunities for African-American musicians and began his career playing in vaudeville and jazz orchestras with Freddie Keppard, Jimmy Wade, Charles Elgar, and Erskine Tate in Chicago. South was influenced by Hungarian folk music and Roma music (heard during his first trip to Europe in the early 1920s) and adapted the music to jazz. In 1927 he started his own group, Eddie South and his Alabamians, named after the Alabam club where they played in Chicago, and, along with pianist and composer Henry Crowder, toured with them in Europe from 1928 to 1930. On subsequent visits to Europe in the 1930s, he performed and recorded with guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinists Stphane Grappelli and Michel Warlop. He also led bands that included pianist Billy Taylor and bassist Milt Hinton.
Violin Jazz breathes new life into Eddie South's works, by both paying homage to South's solo styles as well as adding their own improvisations. The group consists of master violinist Cohen (founder of the group and 1st violin of the Grammy nominated ensemble Quartet San Francisco), world renowned performer, session pianist and arranger for the group Larry Dunlap, Jim Kerwin (of the David Grisman Quartet) on bass, and Dix Bruce on guitar, who beyond being a well known performer has had over 35 instructional books published by Mel Bay Publications. The group is joined by the drummer Harold Jones, whose credits include performing and recording with Count Basie, Oscar Peterson, Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, and Tony Bennett.
Combine the excitement of this music, performed by such a star studded ensemble with Dorian Sono Luminus staff recording the album at world famous Skywalker Sound, and you know this album is ready to jump out of its package!