The Bebop Shop : Artistry In Rhythm: Early Jazz, Big Bands & Swing : Artie Shaw
This great value 43-track 2-CD collection traces his career across the two decades and more from his earliest recordings in the early 30s through to his effective retirement from the music business in 1954. It includes some lesser known material from the 30s with other leaders bands Roger Wolfe Kahn, Adrian Rollini, Wingy Manone, Red Norvo and Frankie Trumbauer before he formed his own orchestra, and it draw from recordings both by his full orchestra and the various incarnations of his breakdown ensemble The Gramercy Five. Its an enjoyable overview of the career of a master craftsman and unique jazz personality. (Acrobat Music) Price: £12.99
Artie Shaw led some of the classic big bands of the Swing Era and maintained a consistently innovative approach to making music throughout his career. A virtuoso clarinettist whose technique surpassed that of the "King of Swing", Benny Goodman, Shaw was self taught in the arts of playing and also arranging. His first big band contained a string quartet, but this line up did not find commercial success so it was jettisoned in favour of a more conventional setup. Hits such as "Frenesi" and "Begin The Beguine" followed along with sides cut by Shaw's band-within-a-band, the Gramercy 5.
At the height of the success, Shaw split the band, but was to return with new lineups in subsequent years which included a stellar array of soloists including Roy Eldridge, Hot Lips Page, Zoot Sims and many others. This 4 CD set presents the best across all of Shaw's varied output and contains a booklet telling his colourful story - the story of a musician who never seemed quite satisfied with the uses his vast talent was put to. (Proper Records) Price: £15.49