Review: Aaron Weinstein at The Crazy Coqs

Comparisons between swing violinist Aaron Weinstein and Woody Allen don't really work, says Dave Gelly, but his humour certainly merits a drought notice

Aaron Weinstein plays swing violin and mandolin, wears a bow tie with pride and sports a sense of humour so dry that they should put out drought notices wherever he appears.
I first heard him on one of the Pizzarelli family's get-together albums, where he played beautifully but was rather overwhelmed in the crush of talent. At London's new cabaret venue, The Crazy Coqs, in April, with the ever-supportive David Newton on piano, he had the audience all to himself.

There are so few jazz violinists around that you can't play the game of comparing one with another, so I shall simply report that he played a set of impeccably chosen standards, a couple on mandolin but mostly on violin, swinging genuinely and spontaneously on both. He even did that thing with the bow that used to be Joe Venuti's speciality – looping the horsehair over the strings and playing all four at once.
In fact, Weinstein's show, Have Strings – Will Swing, is, frankly, a musical entertainment. It makes a beguiling hour-and-a-quarter, his deadpan homilies and confessions interspersed with the music. (He's been compared to Groucho Marx, Woody Allen and even Jack Benny – none of which is really apt.)

To get the best out of it, you have to feel comfortable enough with jazz to take it lightly. If the word hadn't become fatally compromised by now, I'd say Aaron Weinstein was hip.  

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