Search this site
Frisco Jazz CDs
Alguire, Danny
Armstrong, Lil Hardin
Armstrong, Louis
Bagatelle jazz bar
Bales, Burt
Bardin, Bill
Basie, Count
Bearcats archive
Bechet, Sidney
Beiderbecke, Bix
Berigan, Bunny
Berkeley Jazz Houses
Berry, Byron
Black Diamond Jazz Band
Blumberg, Jerry
Bolden, Buddy
Bruce, Bobby
Burp Hollow tapes
Butterman, Ted
Calloway, Blanche
Carter, Benny
Casa Loma Orchestra
Cattolica, Vince
Chace, Frank
Cheatham, Doc
Christian, Charlie
Christmas Jazz
Clayton, Buck
Club Hangover Archive
Club Hangover Rarities
Colman, Bunky
Cowboy Jazz
Dane, Barabara
Ellington, Duke: Live
Ellington, Duke: Tribute
Erickson, Bill
Erickson, Bill: Archive
Ekyan, Andre
Farey, Ev - Bay City JB
Fitzgerald, Ella
Goodman, Benny
Goodwin, Jim
Goudie, Frank Big Boy
Goudie in Paris 1924-39
Goudie's Paris
Goudie's San Francisco
Goudie, Frank: Music Pt 2
Goudie, Frank: Music Pt 3
Great Pacific Jazz Band
Handy, WC
Hayes, Clancy
Hayes, Clancy Archive
Helm, Bob
Hines, Earl Fatha
Holiday, Billie
Honeybucket tapes
International Sweethearts
Jazz Guitar Pioneers
Johnson, Bunk
Johnson, James P.
Joplin, Janis: Jazz tapes
Lang, Eddie
Larks Club tapes
Lashley, Barbara
Leonard, Ada - All Girl Orch
Lyttleton, Humphrey
McDonald, Stan: Programs
McDonald, Stan: Bonus
Men of the Blues
Mielke, Bob
Mielke Tapes archive
Misc Topics I
Misc Topics II
Monkey Inn Gang I
Monkey Inn Gang II
Morton, Jelly Roll
Murphy, Spud
Napier, Bill
New Black Eagle Jazz Band
Nods Taproom
Noone, Jimmie
Oakland Swingin' A's Jazz Band
Ordinary, The tapes
Oxtot, Dick
Oxtot Golden Age JB
Pier 23 tapes
Price, Sammy
Reinhardt, Django
Rose, Wally
Russell, Pee Wee
Scheelar, Earl
Scheelar tape archive
Sharon Rogers Band
Shaw, Artie
Skjelbred, Ray
Smith, Bessie & Rainey, Ma
Smith, Jabbo
South, Eddie
South Frisco JB archive
Spanier, Muggsy
Stanton, PT '50s-'60s
Stanton, PT 1970s
Strickler, Benny: Frisco
Strickler, Benny: Tulsa
Teagarden, Jack
Waller, Fats
Washboard Rhythm Kings
West Coast Trad Jazz
Williams, Clarence
Women of Jazz
Women of Jazz (AUDIO)
Yerba Buena Jazz Band
Yerba Buena archive
YBJB Phil Elwood
Young, Lester
NY Festivals 2014
Gabriel Award 2011
Gabriel Award 2009
Gabriel Award 2004
Golden Reel 2003
Golden Reel 2002
Golden Reel 2001
Radlauer books
Writing and Essays
Tip Jar

The Dark Angel of the Violin

Largely forgotten today, violinist Eddie South traveled the world achieving modest popularity with a unique fusion of classical technique and gypsy influences with hot jazz sensibility.

In his day he was billed as “The Dark Angel of the Violin.”

Exploring the music and career of brilliant violinist Eddie South.

MY! OH MY!  --  Eddie South and his Orchestra, 1933
SWEET GEORGIA BROWN  --  Eddie South duet with Django, Paris, 1937
IDAHO  --  Eddie South, 1944
VOICE OF THE SOUTHLAND  --  Eddie South, 1927
LADY BE GOOD  --  Eddie South Quintet, NYC 1941

OLD MAN HARLEM  --   Eddie South, 1931
GOTTA GO --   Eddie South, 1933
AT THE BALL  --  Eddie South, previously unissued, 1934
TZIGANI IN RHYTHM  --  Eddie South, Standard Transcriptions, 1944

EDDIE’S BLUES  --    Eddie South, 1937
FIDDLE BLUES  --    Eddie South, 1937
DINAH  --  Eddie South, 1937
HONEYSUCKLE ROSE  --  Eddie South, Holland 1938
ON THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET  --  Eddie South, Holland 193
STOMPIN’ AT THE SAVOY  --  Eddie South Quintet, 1941
DR. GROOVE  --  Eddie South, Standard Transcriptions, 1944

MAD MONK  --  Eddie South, Standard Transcriptions, 1944
RHAPSODY IN BLUE  --  Eddie South, Jubilee (AFRS), 1944
SOLACE  --  Eddie South, Standard Transcriptions, 1944

Born in Missouri in 1904 but raised in Chicago where he studied Classical violin, Eddie South was a child prodigy.  But as a black man any opportunity in legitimate classical music at that time was barred to him.  So instead he became active in Vaudeville, in early Jazz, and was much influenced by central European gypsy music after visiting Hungary in the late 1920s.


Between 1923-27 South worked in some of the better musical aggregations in Chicago such as the theater orchestras of Charles Elgar and Erskine Tate.  He launched his own group there in 1927 at Club Alabam; that year his “Alabamians” recorded for Victor Records. Thereafter he led bands under his own name for more than three decades.

Though I emphasize his Jazz side, much of South’s performing was more Popular in nature such as his romantic adaptations of light classics and Hungarian gypsy music.  Eddie’s jazz records were basically small string bands with piano and drums, though for some of his residencies he did have larger bands with plenty of horns.



From the mid 1930s on he was in great demand in a wide range of venues, appearing and recording in Hollywood, Chicago, New York and Paris, frequently performing and recording in Europe: France, England and Holland.  It was during a visit to Hungary in the late Twenties that he became fascinated with the violin music of the gypsies.

The expressive lyricism of gypsy violin music made a deep impression on South, and remained a powerful influence for the rest of his life.  However, I suspect that this inclination (and his classical tendencies) conspired to marginalize his popularity among Jazz and Popular audiences.  Nonetheless, central European repertoire and gypsy tunes -- what is known as tzigane (or cigany) -- was a mainstay of Eddie South’s personal musical style.

South also hooked into another aspect of Gypsy tradition during his many lengthy stays in Europe, joining up with Django Reinhardt -- who was transforming his Manouche gypsy tradition into a fresh new Jazz style with Stephane Grappelli in their Quintet of the Hot club of France.  The result was some of Eddie South’s most spectacular collaborations and best pure jazz records, such as his exquisite 1937 duet with Django called “Eddie’s Blues” and several outstanding records of the Quintet with both Stephane and Eddie such as “Dinah” “Lady Be Good” and “Fiddle Blues.”

1940S & ‘50s

Through the ‘40s & ‘50s South continued to be heard widely on radio in the U.S.; held numerous residencies; and performed on Armed Forces Radio. He was even on Chicago television in the 1950s, and later in new York with such TV personalities as Dave Garroway, continuing to perform until a few weeks before his death in 1962.

Drawing from a broad palette of Classical music, Gypsy tzigane and Jazz, Eddie South’s distinctive dark tone, powerful bowing and immaculate violin technique continually drew new listeners enchanted by “The Dark Angel of the Violin.”


Tip Jar

This site is free.  But you can help sustain it, and encourage me with donation to the tip jar.  Secure payment through PayPal is anonymous, except that I will see your e-mail address.

Donation $5.00
Donation $10.00
Donation $20.00
Donation $35.00
Donation $50.00
Donation: You decide