New York Times

Jazz: Svend Asmussen
John S. Wilson

The veteran Danish jazz violinist Svend Asmussen is appearing through Sunday at Fat Tuesday’s, Third Avenue near 17th Street, with the Dave Grisman Quintet, turning it into one of the finest jazz string ensembles since the Quintet of the Hot Club of France in which Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli played 50 years ago.

Mr. Asmussen has spent most of his career in Europe, making only occasional and brief appearances in the United States. Now that he has as he says, “retired” at the age of 70, he has the time to travel for a while with Mr. Grisman’s group. Mr. Grisman not only got Mr. Asmussen to join him but also convinced him to abandon his amplified violin and return to his acoustic instrument to create a beautifully balanced string ensemble with Mr. Grisman playing mandolin, Dimitri Vandellos on acoustic and electric guitars, James Kerwin on bass, and George Marsh on drums.

The influence of Mr. Grappelli can be heard in Mr. Asmussen’s playing (he lets it flourish in a composition by Mr. Grisman called “Steppin’ With Stephane” but he adds his own sassy comments, nudges, punches and a charming way with melodies. He is a delightful, low-key showman as well as an advocate for a Brazilian mandolin player, Jacob do Bandolim, whose pulsing, somber bass style he emulates on his violin.

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