Svend Asmussen (born 28 February 1916 in Copenhagen, Denmark) is a jazz violinist from Denmark, known as "The Fiddling Viking". Asmussen grew up in a musical family, starting violin lessons at age 7. At age 16 he first heard recordings by jazz violin great Joe Venuti and began to emulate his style. He started working professionally as a violinist, vibraphonist, and singer at age 17, leaving his formal training behind for good. Early in his career he worked in Denmark and on cruise ships with artists such as Josephine Baker and Fats Waller. Asmussen later was greatly influenced by Stuff Smith, whom he met in Denmark. Asmussen played with Valdemar Eiberg and Kjeld Bonfils during World War II, during which time jazz had moved to the underground and served as a form of political protest. In the late 1950s, Asmussen formed the trio Swe-Danes with singer Alice Babs and guitarist Ulrik Neumann. The group became very popular in Scandinavia for their music hall style entertainment and also toured the United States. Asmussen also worked with Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, and Duke Ellington. Asmussen was invited by Ellington to play on his Jazz Violin Session recording in 1963 with Stéphane Grappelli and Ray Nance.
Svend Asmussen is a world famous jazz-violinist and entertainer. He is now 93 years old and still going strong. He has had a lot of different groups during the years. On this CD with recordings from 1953, 1958 and 1963 he plays with his quintet, sextet and a duo with guitarist Ulrik Neumann. The recordings are made in Hamburg, Germany where he was a frequent visitor in those years. The sound is fantastic and so is the selection of the standard tunes they play. Svend Asmussen and his quintet/sextet were at its peak. Storyville Records are very happy for this release of unissued material with one of the greatest jazz-musicians from Denmark. Storyville har fundet nogle fantastiske optagelser med (den nu 93-årige verdensberømte jazz-violinist og entertainer) Svend Asmussen. Optagelserne er fra årene 1953/1958/1963 og indspillet i Hamburg hvor han var en hyppig gæst i disse år. Der er optagelser med hans Kvintet & Sextet samt Duo’en med guitaristen Ulrik Neumann. Hans musikere var Max Leth, Jørgen Ingmann, Poul Gregersen, Erik Frederiksen, Frank Jensen og Preben Oxbøl, - alle kompetente musikere. Disse indspilninger hører til nogle af de bedste Svend Asmussen har lavet i sin lange karriere. Svend Asmussen har gennem årene spillet med alle mulige berømte musikere som Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Stephane Grappelli og Stuff Smith for at nævne nogle få. Stuff Smith var hans store inspiration eller som Svend selv siger mit "smitstof".