CD1 Mixed Bag 1945-46
1. The Hornet
2. The Glider
3. Love of my Life
4. Let’s Walk
5. Love for Sale
6. My Heart Belongs to Daddy
7. Begin the Beguine
8. Get Out of Town
9. What Is This Thing Called Love?
11. I’ve Got the Sun in the Morning
12. Changing My Tune
13. It’s the Same Old Dream
14. Anniversary Song
15. For You, For Me, Forever More
16. I Believe
17. When You’re Around
19. Sunny Side Up
Artie Shaw - Clarinet
Roy Eldridge, Stan Fishelson, Bernie Glow, George Schwartz - Trumpets
Harry Rogers, Gus Dixon, Ollie Wilson, Bob Swift - Trombones
Rudy Tanza, Lou Prisby - Alto saxes
Herbie Steward, Jon Walton - Tenor saxes
Chuck Gentry - Baritone sax
Dodo Marmarosa - Piano
Barney Kessel - Guitar
Morris Rayman - Bass
Lou Fromm - Drums
Mel Tormé and the Mel-Tones - Vocals
CD2 The Big Band 1949
2. I Cover the Waterfront
3. Fred's Delight
5. Aesop's Foibles
7. They Can't Take That Away from Me
8. Smooth 'n Easy
9. I Get a Kick out of You
11. So Easy
12. 'S Wonderful
16. Mucho De Nada
Artie Shaw - Clarinet
Dan Palladino, Don Fagerquist, Dale Pierce, Vie Ford - Trumpets
Sonny Russo, Fred Zito, Angie Callea, Porky Cohen - Trombones
Herbie Steward, Frank Socolow - Alto saxes
Al Cohn, Zoot Sims - Tenor saxes
Danny Bank - Baritone sax
Gil Barrios - Piano
Jimmy Raney - Guitar
Dick Nevison - Bass
Irv Kruger - Drums
The disc’s title has unquestioned logic. We have here a two disc
set, with strongly varied personnel, recorded between 1945 and ’49.
It’s the third volume in ‘The Last Recordings’ series under which
rubric the Shaw series has been flying.
All the first disc tracks were recorded for Musicraft in Hollywood.
The first four have Roy Eldridge in harness, and his presence both
soloistically and sectionally is a tonic. His work on Let’s Walk
is especially exciting. Dodo Marmarosa was the pianist though he gets
little exposure; better in this respect was the opportunity accorded
to Herbie Steward whose tenor playing on The Hornet is impressive;
note too that Barney Kessel is on guitar. Shaw himself takes a fluid
solo on the Basie stomper The Glider.
There are a number of titles with strings in this particular volume.
My Heart Belongs to Daddy is sung by Kitty Kallen with a slice
of Salt Beef in her delivery, which is not surprising as the intro
had been played by violinist Harry Bluestone in forceful Gypsy-Semitic
mode. The string-laden ensembles don’t always work to the advantage
of the arrangements, and the nine (including Bluestone) fiddles, three
violas and three cellos tend to weigh things down: For You, For
Me, Forever More is a particular case in point. Mel Tomé makes
an appearance with his Mel-Tones with the studio band and fifteen
piece string section, and the boppish harmonies of I’ve Got the
Sun in the Morning add some spice to the proceedings.
The second disc is a string-less big band recorded in1949. There
were some first class arrangements, executed by some stellar names,
and the band boasted amidst its ranks some decidedly important musicians.
Don Fagerquist (who takes most of the solos for his instrument) sat
in the four man trumpet section, Sonny Rosso was in the trombones.
Herb Steward and Frank Socolow were the alto players whilst Al Cohn
and Zoot Sims were the tenors. Danny Bank was the baritone saxophonist.
Not a bad sax section, all things considered. They produced some outstanding
and stirring music and this disc produces nearly an hour’s worth of
sheer enjoyment and excitement. In Irv Kluger they had an undersung
and propulsive drummer, and indeed throughout the band there was strength
in depth. Dale Pierce for instance takes a fine trumpet solo in Stardust
alongside Fred Zito’s trombone. There are sinuous Latin American
rhythms in Orinoco and – to get down to rhythm section specifics
– a splendid Jimmy Raney guitar solo on I Get a Kick out of You.
Maybe the George Russell arrangement of Similau has too
many Kentonesque moments but that’s not to downgrade the striving,
driving eloquence of the band. Note too that Al Cohn takes almost
all the tenor solos but that Zoot Sims takes I Cover the Waterfront.
Even in this company Shaw proves exceptional.
It’s this second disc in which the greatest musical riches lie, though
the first disc has its merits amidst the overblown moments. Loren
Schoenberg’s fine and extensive booklet notes have been retained and
this ex-MusicMasters release, which was produced by Shaw himself back
in the early nineties, makes a valued appearance again.
See additional reviews by Pierre
Giroux and Don