Joe Venuti (1903-1978), who was one of the first jazz violinists, wrote this tune along with his guitarist Eddie Lang (1902-1933) early in his career. The European violin/guitar jazz duo was comparable to the North American duo of Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt. Although the original accompaniment is played on guitar, this transcription uses piano as the accompanying instrument. Joe Venuti never played this song the same way so I took it upon myself to replace some licks in the transcription with ones that I hard heard on different recordings. The tune was very challenging for me to learn and was a great way for me to better understand the history and development of jazz violin.
Wild Cat is a song composed and performed by jazz guitarist Eddie Lang and violinist Joe Venuti, first recorded in New York, January 24, 1927. In the electronic edition of Katharine Rapoport,Violin For Dummies (2010), it is recommended listening "to really get your head (and ears) around jazz music".
It was something of a showcase piece for Venuti's talent as a violinist. His performance has been held to "offer some good examples of bow rockin'."
"Wild Cat" illustrates the salient features of Venuti's unique violin styling. He utilized the full range of the violin, from low rich tones to the high, ethereal sounds near the bridge. The melody of the popular song "Wild Cat" was completely transformed through Venuti's ingenious improvisation on its underlying chord structure.
Andy Stein is also noted for a virtuoso performance of the same piece.
A further recording of "Wild Cat" by Stan Kurtis and Dick Hyman, which came out on the Pro Jazz label in 1987, was well received.
Jazz, violin, Joe Venuti, transcription, Eddie Lang, fiddle, IUP, music major, recital, guitar, piano