January/February 1999

Anthony Barnett
Violin Improvisations Studies, No. 10

Anthony Barnett, who champions the cause of violin improvisation so valiantly, has here put together a fascinating collection of relative material. There are features on Dick Wetmore, Leroy Jenkins and India Cooke, and an astonishing survey of “Early African-American Jazz and Blues Violinists.” Discographies are provided of Clarence Black, Ray Biondi and, rather surprisingly, Paul Nero. Notes follow on Harriett Wilson and Her Swinging Strings, as well as on “early Scandinavian bebop violin.” No less than 17 pages are devoted to reproducing examples of Leroy Jenkins’ music. The wide range of subjects will delight anyone interested in the violin’s role in jazz and surprise those who view it with disfavor or prejudice. The book proves that the extent of the instrument’s use has been greater in jazz and blues than is generally realized.

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