This father-and-son team has been a reliable part of the Chicago blues scene for decades on end. Eddie Shaw first gained fame as Howlin’ Wolf’s sax player before he started fronting his own band, Eddie Shaw & the Wolf Gang. Vaan Shaw has justifiably gained a rep as a hotshot guitar player. This collaboration is an entirely acoustic affair, which explains the title. Naked features only Vaan’s guitar and Eddie’s sax and harmonica, minus any electric embellishments.
This impressive series continues with its incredibly 6-CD sets, this one yielding 100 masterful guitar performances! The heavy emphasis is on classical, from baroque to modern (with two discs devoted to Spanish guitar and another entirely to Rodrigo), but you'll encounter some Beatles along the way, too. Pieces by Bach, Scarlatti, Vivaldi, Satie, Britten, Granados, Falla, Rodrigo, Albeniz, Villa-Lobos and others are played by Andres Segovia, Julian Bream, Eliot Fisk, Manuel Barrueco, Christopher Parkening and more!
51 essential principles for the contemporary guitarist Some guitarists are obsessed with learning all of the whats and whys of music while others focus mostly on the whats without obsessing too much about the whys. Then there’s those who could care less about either. The first group seeks out a more formal music education, the second group leans more towards private instruction or self-study programs, and the third group enters a shed only to pull out their weed whackers.
The material on CD 1 dates from the latter half of Artie Shaw’s career as a bandleader, which ended with his retirement in 1954. Always presenting tasteful and often unusually deep interpretations of big-band jazz and dance music, and featuring his exquisite and frequently profound clarinet improvisations, Shaw’s career climaxed in his rise to superstar status as the most popular musician in North America at the height of the Swing Era in 1939.
Conversing with Artie Shaw – as Loren Schoenberg and I did in preparation for annotating these further treasures from his last recordings – is an exhilarating experience. This is because this master of the clarinet excels at making connections. Just as he always knew how to get from one note the next in such a way that the result was a cohesive statement – a story, as jazz musicians used to put it – he knows how to link one idea to another, to make allusions, to place things in context, within a frame of reference that ranges wide and far. Artie Shaw always told a story when he played, and he had that sound – immediately, unmistakably identifiable as his and his alone. It is a treat to hear him tell us some timeless stories we hadn’t heard before. Dan Morgenstern.
These marvellous performances are culled from Artie Shaw’s final recordings as an instrumentalist. It is crystal clear that he retired at the height of his powers. Throughout these pieces, his playing is a joy to the ear and the mind, and his unique sound on the clarinet has seldom if ever been better captured. Shaw was still in his prime as a leader as well: this last Gramercy Five was a collective of the first order with a sound and style of its own, attuned to the times but never falling into the trap of trendiness.