Giuseppi Venuti, 16 September 1903, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, d. 14 August 1978, Seattle, Washington, USA. According to legend, Venuti took up violin when he and a friend, Eddie Lang, tossed a coin to see who would play which of two instruments they had bought from a Philadelphia pawn shop. Lang got the guitar. Similarly legendary are tales of Venutis birth and early career. The former has been placed in both Italy and Philadelphia, with a favourite in-between location on board a ship filled with Italian immigrants as it sailed into New York harbour. The date varies too, with a range of anything up to five years either way. More prosaically, Venuti spent his early life working in bands in and around Philadelphia, often in company with Lang, before joining Bert Estlows band in Atlantic City. By 1924 he had graduated to leading one of Jean Goldkettes bands. Later in the 20s, often still with Lang, he played in the bands of Roger Wolfe Kahn...
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