Posted ByLL on October 11, 2003 at 19:46:17:
In Reply to: Re: Jack Benny and his violin posted byMichael on October 10, 2003 at 20:13:55:
: : I am looking for any recording of Mr. Benny playing his violin straight. I know from his biography he was quite capable, and would love to hear him.
: I wish you all the luck in the world on your search, but I would think a recording of Jack playing the violin straight would be as rare as a recording of Harpo Marx giving a speech...
Oddly enough, I can help you with both of those. Jack playing the violin as well as he could can be heard on the recording of Jack and Isaac Stern playing the Bach Double Violin Concerto at Carnegie Hall. As Stern said to me, "What you heard is what you got. Jack really did play as well as he could." He also said at another time that "Jack played in the general vicinity of the notes." So don't expect Jack to sound like Heifetz in any recording, because he simply didn't play that well. You can also hear Jack playing "Sweet Georgia Brown" reasonably on the "Proudly They Came" album from July 4, 1970 (post a response if you want me to post an MP3 of this excerpt).
Note that you really have to start looking after about 1948 to find recordings of Jack playing a halfway decent violin. This was when he really was inspired (partially because of Danny Kaye's introduction to Stern) to get serious about his playing, rather than using it for comedic effect as he had for so many years.