Svend Asmussen Biography

- One of the best jazz-violin players of all time, Svend Asmussen (“The Great Dane”) passed away February 2017, three weeks before his 101 years birthday.

- He began playing violin from his 6th year and made his professional debut in 1933. His first band was formed along the lines of Joe Venuti’s groups, but after listening to contemporary records by Stuff Smith in 1936, he became greatly influenced by him. Asmussen played with the Mills Brothers in 1937 and with Fats Waller the following year when they toured Denmark.

- From 1945 and the following 30 years, he successfully combined a career in jazz and popular music, the high point being the years with the trio the Swe-Danes from 1958 to 1962 with Alice Babs and Ulrik Neumann. The trio recorded and toured Scandinavia and the United States with enormous success.

- Other high points included playing and recording with Stuff Smith (1965-67) in Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland, recording with John Lewis (1962), Duke Ellington (1963), Stephane Grappelli (1965), playing at the Monterey Jazz Festival in California  (1967 and 1975) and the Parisian club Le Petit Opportun (1985 and 1986), and touring the United States with David Grisman (1986).

- In 1992 Asmussen formed a quartet with guitarist Jacob Fischer, bassist Jesper Lundgaard and drummer Aage Tanggaard, probably the best ensemble he ever had. They toured constantly until late 2010, when Asmussen suffered a stroke that damaged his right arm, making it impossible to play in public.

- Asmussen’s style is personal and musically intricate, always swinging, and his tone was characterized by a light softness that in the high register became extraordinarily beautiful.

- Frank Büchmann-Møller

SvA WallerSvend & Fats WallerSweDanesSwe-DanesEllingtonSvend & Duke Ellington GoodmanSvend & Benny Goodman SvAQuartetSvend's Last Quartet

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