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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke

ARTIE SHAW
SWING LEGENDS
22 Classic Hits
Nimbus Records NI 2018

Crotchet  


 

  1. Nightmare
  2. Never had no Lovin’
  3. Sweet Lorraine
  4. Copenhagen
  5. Chant
  6. Just You, Just Me
  7. Begin the Beguine
  8. Back bay shuffle
  9. Any Old Time
  10. Non-Stop Flight
  11. One Night Stand
  12. One Foot in the Groove
  13. Traffic Jam
  14. Frenesi
  15. Summit Ridge Drive
  16. Star Dust
  17. Blues
  18. Moon Glow
  19. Lady Day
  20. I Can’t get Started with You
  21. It’s the Same Old Dream
  22. I Get a Kick out of You

This is another set of records originally on 78rpm, which have been reprocessed and put into stereo format. The conversion on this album is exceptional, I have heard most of these tracks before in their original form and their transformation has to be heard to be believed, I am very impressed.

Like his contemporary Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw was of Jewish extraction and I have no doubt that the Klezmer music they both would have heard as children influenced them as musicians. Although they came to fame on the same instrument in the same period, there is very little similarity of style. Goodman’s classical training always shows through even though he had an excellent jazz feel, but both men had a phenomenal technique. Artie Shaw had about 25 years as a bandleader before giving up both playing and bandleading in 1954.

The album begins with Nightmare Artie’s unusual signature tune and it includes his work with many different bands over a 13-year period. There are a couple of vocal tracks, one with Billie Holiday and the other with a young Mel Torme.

Shaw was a very serious musician, as well as writing arrangements for the band; he also composed many original compositions as well as playing superb clarinet solos. His technique and tone were second to none and he coached his band to a high degree of precision. He also employed the best musicians available, Buddy Rich, Billy Butterfield and Roy Eldridge are just three of the big jazz names that passed through the ranks, all are featured here.

This was of course, the ‘pop’ music of the era; Begin the Beguine, Back Bay Shuffle and Frenesi were all million sellers! They still sound very good today and have stood the test of time very well.

If you have some Artie Shaw records already still get this one - the quality of the reproduction will surprise you, if you don’t have any of his work, this is an ideal place to start. Artie Shaw’s bands are of high quality musically speaking and if you play the clarinet, try playing some of the solos; many transcriptions are still available. He makes them sound very easy, but be assured that is something they are not! One of Shaw’s compositions ‘Any Old Time’ deserves to be heard more often, I would like to have it my bands library.

Don Mather

Don Mather is a saxophone player and Bandleader in Coventry











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