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  • Writer's pictureandreahywong

Album: Cat On A Hot Fiddle - Stuff Smith

Album: Cat On A Hot Fiddle

Artist: Stuff Smith (Ohio, USA; 1909 - 1967)

Year Released: 1960

Genre: Jazz

Personal Response: I've been on a jazz phase and I seldom see much violin in the genre - the first artist I saw play a violin in a jazz ensemble was Zach Brock from Snarky Puppy.

So I went hunting and found this album! The jazz vernacular is still very foreign for me - I feel like I lack the words to describe this "accurately". American 30's/40's Swing music comes to mind, and it's definitely groovy! Perhaps one day I'll be able to come back and add to this on more musical aspects.

Compared to some other music I've been listening to lately, the violin part in this album seemed simpler and it really reminded me that #complexity is never a necessity for good music (whatever that means...). It was really encouraging to hear something I could see myself being competent enough to learn (unlike some other daunting jazz lines). We'll have to see if I act on it and actually get to learning some #jazzviolin.

I heard some folk elements (I swear 2:48 in Nice and Warm sounds like a snippet from Irish Washerwoman!) and Take the "A“ Train definitely had some double stops and pizzicato moments that reminded me of the fiddle-famed Orange Blossom Special. The ornamentation and slides here and there seemed similar to some of the folk music I grew up learning on the violin.

Influences/Fun Facts:

  • Louis Armstrong was an influence in Smith's music, so I'll have to pick one of his albums next!

  • You'se a Viper (1936) is not on this album but came up as one of his more popular songs, so of course I had to check it out! I'se a Mugging (1936) was another hit of his!

  • Stuff Smith was the first to use technology to amplify his violin. In a way, he inspired the invention of the electric violin!


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