Svend Asmussen
Svend Asmussen

Svend Asmussen

About Svend Asmussen

A top swing violinist beginning in the mid-'30s, it seems strange that Svend Asmussen was not better known in the United States. He started playing violin when he was seven and made his professional debut in 1933. Always based in Scandinavia (hence his obscurity in the U.S.), Asmussen made his first records as a leader in 1935 and was consistently popular in his homeland for decades thereafter. He played with the Mills Brothers and Fats Waller in the 1930s when they passed through Denmark, but when Benny Goodman tried to get him in the mid-'50s for his small group, strict immigration laws made it impossible for him to work in the U.S. Asmussen recorded with John Lewis (1962), Duke Ellington (as part of a 1963 violin summit), Toots Thielemans, Lionel Hampton (1978), and on a few occasions with Stéphane Grappelli, in addition to many dates with his own groups. He died in February 2017 at the age of 100. ~ Scott Yanow

  • HOMETOWN
    Copenhagen, Denmark
  • BORN
    February 28, 1916