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.
5 complete LPs presented on 2 companion volumes! Featuring Carl Perkins, Jimmy Rowles, Barney Kessel and Don Fagerquist! Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw were among the most famous and beloved figures in swing music both as clarinet soloists and orchestra conductors. They were still very active musically in 1957, when Buddy De Franco decided to record a series of sessions paying homage to them. Thirty-five performances were recorded (including four medleys containing three songs each) in four extended sessions made on four consecutive days and with two different groups (guitarist Barney Kessel, however, is present on most of the tracks).
Outstanding Collection of the hottest numbes in the Golden Age of Big Bands: Artie Shaw & His Orchestra, Art Tatum All Stars with Tommy Dorsey, Tommy & Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Stan Kenton & His Orchestra, Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra & others.
Artie Shaw - One of jazz's finest clarinetists, Artie Shaw never seemed fully satisfied with his musical life, constantly breaking up successful bands and running away from success.
Artie Shaw led one of the great bands of the 'Swing Era' and from that band he formed a small group called the Gramercy 5. Having a "band within a band" was a popular trend at the time and the Gramercy 5 were one of the best! Presented here, spanning a period from 1940 to 1954, are what are thought to be ALL the commercially released titles by the band. Featuring the familiar "Begin The Beguine" which became a million seller along with the very popular "Frenesi". Also included are the hits "Summit Ridge Drive" & "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes". With bonus tracks that come from The Gramercy 5's appearances on Radio programmes including very rare performances on the 'Radio Hall Of Fame' and 'Kraft Music Hall', this is the seminal release unsurpassed by any other.
One of jazz's finest clarinetists, Artie Shaw never seemed fully satisfied with his musical life, constantly breaking up successful bands and running away from success. While Count Basie and Duke Ellington were satisfied to lead just one orchestra during the swing era, and Benny Goodman (due to illness) had two, Shaw led five, all of them distinctive and memorable. After growing up in New Haven, CT, and playing clarinet and alto locally, Shaw spent part of 1925 with Johnny Cavallaro's dance band and then played off and on with Austin Wylie's band in Cleveland from 1927-1929 before joining Irving Aaronson's Commanders.
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.