The violin, unlike the saxophone or the trumpet, is one of the least popular instruments in jazz. Nevertheless the history of jazz has produced such influential master violinists as Joe Venuti, Eddie South, Stuff Smith, Ray Nance and Stephane Grappelli. Their colleague Johnny Frigo has been active on the concert stage since 1934. His big breakthrough, however, came some fifty years later, with the release of the album 'Triple Treat' (1987). Frigo catapulted to fame and was pronounced 'the best jazz violinist since Stephane Grappelli'. The reason for his belated discovery lies in the fact that, until the '80s, Frigo was mainly active as a bass player (with the notable exception of a stint as the violinist in a comedy act with Chico Marx).
Somewhere in the silent ether,
Orphaned by the ear,
Floats every note was ever played
That we no longer hear.
The iceberg tip of tape and disc
We resurrect at will
Is but one note in millions
Drowned and ever still.
True--the ink the quill and paper
Genius put to use
Still comes alive in concert halls
In reverence--or abuse.
But what of every masterpiece
That died while being born,
Through smoke and booze in gin mills
From piano and from horn?
For every Monk or Coltrane chorus
Ever put to tape
Are millions, more profound by far,
That made their sad escape.
Those instant creativities,
Confetti-ed in the air--
Lost to all the world, save for the
Few who heard them there.