Svend Asmussen, RIP


Sign in to view read count
Svend Asmussen, the Danish violinist who thrived in eight decades of stardom, died yesterday—three weeks short of his 101st birthday. He was one of the handful of violinists who in the 1930s proved the instrument capable of swing and emotional expression at the highest jazz level. He may well have been the only man still alive in the new century who had played with Fats Waller, Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli, Stuff Smith, Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington. Asmussen and his wife Ellen were surprise members of the audience at a concert in his honor at last summer’s Ystad Jazz Festival in Sweden.

Our first clip of Asmussen in action is with Alice Babs and guitarist Ulrik Neumann, who were known as the Swe-danes. They thrived in the late 1950s. This piece was a record, radio and television hit in Scandinavia for years.

In the next video, we find Asmussen 30-odd years later at the Club Montmartre in Copenhagen. His accompanists are Kenny Drew, piano; Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, bass; and Ed Thigpen, drums. The piece is by Duke Ellington.

For a comprehensive obituary of Svend Asmussen, see this Washington Post article.

Continue Reading...

This story appears courtesy of Rifftides by Doug Ramsey.
Copyright © 2021. All rights reserved.

Post a comment


Shop Amazon

Jazz News


All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.