Svend Asmussen, Sept. 20, 1975, Monterey Jazz Festival. jazz violinist from Denmark.]. Asmussen started 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. Asmussen also worked with Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, and Duke Ellington. Asmussen was invited by Ellington to play on the Jazz Violin Session recording in 1963 with Stéphane Grappelli and Ray Nance.