BARNINGHAM BOUND: Emma Fisk and James Birkett
BARNINGHAM BOUND: Emma Fisk and James Birkett

TWO giants of the North East jazz scene – violinist Emma Fisk and guitarist James Birkett – take to the stage at Barningham Village Hall later this month for an evening of music by pioneers of the genre Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang.

The names of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli are familiar to many as great players of string-based jazz.

Less well known are Venuti and Lang, the Italian-American duo who pioneered “hot violin” and jazz guitar in the 1920s and 30s until cut short by Lang’s untimely death in 1933.

Joe Venuti has been dubbed “the father of jazz violin” and was a pioneer of techniques and styles.

His musical partner Eddie Lang is widely regarded as the first jazz guitar virtuoso. The duo recorded and played with many of the jazz greats of the time and influenced many of the early western swing players.

Bringing together their shared knowledge and love of early jazz, Emma Fisk and James Birkett will present an entertaining and informative programme of music associated with, and inspired by, the duo on Friday, November 23.

The programme will include music by Venuti and Lang such as Cheese and Crackers, Sunshine and “Black and Blue Bottom; jazz standards of the era; specially composed originals and some of James and Emma’s favourite tunes.

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All this will be accompanied by musical and biographical snippets giving an insight into the lives and music of the duo.

Robin Brooks, a member of Barningham Village Hall committee, said: “These are two jazz musicians at the top of their game and I can guarantee an evening of spellbinding music.”

The show is part of the current Highlights Rural Touring Scheme season.

“We’ve had some great music shows from Highlights in the past but this is a jazz first for Barningham,” added Mr Brooks.

“The other dates in Emma and James’ tour with Highlights are in Cumbria and Northumberland so this is definitely the only chance to see them in Teesdale”.

The show starts at 7.30pm and tickets are £9.50 for adults, £4 for children and £20 for families. Call 01833 621203 or email rpbrooks72@gmail .com for tickets or book on line at www.highlightsnorth .co.uk.