Johnny Frigo

Sunday, November 5, at Nighttown.

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Silo the Huskie performs on Thursday, October 19, at Blind Lemon.
Still one of today's better jazz violinists, Johnny Frigo hasn't received much attention for his efforts, simply because he has spent so much time over the years working in Chicago as a studio bassist. Born in Chicago in 1916, Frigo began playing violin at age seven, but then switched to tuba and, in high school, string bass. From 1943 to 1945, Frigo played bass with Jimmy Dorsey's band, then worked in a trio with pianist Lou Carter and guitarist Herb Ellis as the Soft Winds. At this time, Frigo wrote the standard "Detour Ahead," which Billie Holiday popularized. Frigo moved back to Chicago, however, and, beginning around 1951, earned a living primarily playing bass and composing commercial music, such as the Chicago Cubs theme song. He did record a jazz violin LP in Mercury and continued to play live in clubs. At 73, Frigo made a couple of appearances on the Johnny Carson show and often played local spots with pianist Joe Vito, who will be with him when he plays here in Cleveland. His repertoire includes standards, but he demonstrates that he can handle more modern material as well on his recent disc, Debut of a Legend, on which he sails effortlessly through Duke Pearson's "Jeanine." Frigo, who will be accompanied by Vito and top local bassist Dave Morgan for this show, also plays jazz classics such as Django Reinhardt's "Nuages" and Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz" with just as much ease.

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