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Johnny Frigo: DNA Exposed!

Consider this: Johnny Frigo was born in 1916. At age 72, when he should have been enjoying retirement from a career of violin, then tuba, then bass, he returned to his first love, and for the past 14 years he has been putting out a series of delightfully swinging albums that continue where Stephane Grappelli left off.

Without resorting to forensics, Frigo’s DNA can easily be traced to Joe Venuti, Russell Procope, Eddie South and, of course, Grappelli. Traces of all their DNA can be found on every track of Johnny Frigo’s DNA Exposed!: the inescapable bent tones; the near-conversational dynamics of phrasing; the very forgivable straying from intonation (portamento?) that renders it a solo instrument by preference; and when you blend the previous, an inevitable sense of musical humor.

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