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April 30, 2012


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"How can you pay for a band, then?" Ellington did it with songwriting royalties.
This is my favorite Shaw band but I had always assumed that the sixteen cuts on my LP were all they ever recorded, so it's amazing to find out that they made 50 tracks.


We can be lucky that Artie Shaw didn't do *all* for the money; would have been a pretty boring band. Just imagine the old charts, played by uninspired youngsters who wanted to bop a bit.

And so, it's very interesting to listen to some of the arrangements from the 1938/39 band - which was Artie's most swinging and also most successful orchestra -, played in a much cooler style.

Yes, it's Don Fagerquist on trumpet; he also participated in "The Gramercy Five", the boppin' edition of the famous small band which again featured the legendary Dodo Marmarosa on piano.

Dodo was gradually vanishing into oblivion by then; his fine touch fitted perfectly in the almost vibratoless blowing of the horns.

William Tipf

A remarkable band indeed - and yes Marc, as you noted, Fagerquist soloing.

Shaw's '49 outing was a return to Thesaurus - he had previously recorded for them in 1937 and 1938.

A great insight into one of jazz's great bandleaders - thank you much.

jeff helgesen

I know that Fagerquist solos on several cuts (the collection I have is also a 16-track compilation), notably "Krazy Kat", "Carnival", and "They Can't Take That Away From Me". I don't think that's Fagerquist on "Stardust"; the vibrato seems to be more consistent with whomever is playing lead (difference in sound between the two is most notable on "They Can't Take That Away From Me").

That said, thanks to Marc for bringing this recording more exosure. I'm not a huge fan of commercial music from this period, but I keep gravitating back to the recordings by this particular band.

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  • Marc Myers writes on music and the arts for The Wall Street Journal. He is author of "Why Jazz Happened" (Univ. of Calif. Press). Founded in 2007, JazzWax was named the 2015 "Blog of the Year" by the Jazz Journalists Association.
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