Artie Shaw dead?

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gatorgal
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Artie Shaw dead?

#1 Post by gatorgal » Thu Dec 30, 2004 2:20 pm

I just heard on NPR that Artie Shaw died today at 94. Has anyone heard anything?

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#2 Post by Utah_Nate » Thu Dec 30, 2004 2:26 pm

Bandleader Artie Shaw Dies at 94
Audio for this story will be available at approx. 7:30PM ET, 4:30PM PT


Big bandleader Artie Shaw, pictured in 1942, has died at age 94. Bettmann/Corbis


All Things Considered, December 30, 2004 · Bandleader, clarinetist and arranger Artie Shaw has died at home in Los Angeles. His health had declined since Thanksgiving. He was 94 years old.


Shaw's recording of "Begin the Beguine" became so popular in 1938 that it brought him to an even footing with the other so-called "King of Swing" -- Benny Goodman. The famously irascible Shaw later referred to the song as an anchor around his neck.


Shaw was an innovator as well as a hit maker. He was one of the first white bandleaders to hire black musicians, and his orchestral compositions won him respect in the classical music world.


But Shaw quit performing in the mid-1950s to compose and arrange music, write books, produce film -- and perfect fly-fishing techniques. Shaw once said his epitaph should read, "He did the best he could with the material he had." Then he changed it -- to "Go Away."


Related NPR Stories

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#3 Post by GemZombie » Thu Dec 30, 2004 2:35 pm

Aw man.

Artie is Candy and I's favorite. Truly a sad day.

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#4 Post by mousethief » Thu Dec 30, 2004 2:45 pm

Yeah, just confirmed it. Rest in peace, Artie.

That leaves Jay McShann.

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#5 Post by djstarr » Thu Dec 30, 2004 4:57 pm

RIP Artie. My favorite track of his for the past few months has been "My Blue Heaven" - always packs the dance floor. Nice to think of him resting up there now.

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#6 Post by mark0tz » Thu Dec 30, 2004 5:46 pm

Yah, consistently, Shaw seems to put as many people on the floor as any I've seen. Very sad to see him go, even though Shaw the bandleader died a long time ago. Interesting guy. I liked NPR's piece.
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#7 Post by Charleston Charlie » Thu Dec 30, 2004 9:23 pm

I tried to rope him into an interview for my radio show, but he politely begged off. Rats!

My next radio show will be a tribute to Artie and his music. Jan. 4th, CITR 101.9 - 8-930 am. www.citr.ca

Adios, Artie.
"‘Swing’ is an adjective or a verb, not a noun. All jazz musicians should swing. There is no such thing as a ’swing band’ in music.”-
Artie Shaw

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#8 Post by mousethief » Fri Dec 31, 2004 7:35 am

Here's the CNN piece.

Best part?

Wives included Lana Turner, Ava Gardner, Evelyn Keyes, Kathleen Winsor

Go Artie!

Bandleader Artie Shaw dies
Wives included Lana Turner, Ava Gardner, Evelyn Keyes, Kathleen Winsor

THOUSAND OAKS, California(AP) -- Artie Shaw, clarinetist and bandleader whose recording of "Begin the Beguine" epitomized the Big Band era, died Thursday at the age of 94, the manager of his orchestra said.

Shaw had been ill for some time, orchestra manager Will Curtis said, but he did not know the specific cause of death.

At his peak in the 1930s and '40s, Shaw pulled in a five-figure salary per week and ranked with Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller as the bandleaders who made music swing. But he left the music world largely behind in the mid-'50s and spent much of the second half of his life devoted to writing and other pursuits.

His band's recording of Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine" was intended to be the "B" side of the record. Instead, it became a huge hit, topping the charts for six weeks in 1938 and making Shaw famous at age 28.

Among his other hits, some with his big band and some with his quartet, the Gramercy Five: "Frenesi," "Dancing in the Dark," "Nightmare," "Back Bay Shuffle," "Accent-tchu-ate the Positive," "Traffic Jam," "They Say," "Moonglow," "Stardust," "Thanks for Ev'rything," "Summit Ridge Drive" and "My Little Nest of Heavenly Blue."

He composed some of his songs, such as "Interlude in B Flat," a 1935 work that featured an unusual combination of clarinet and strings.

He worked with such jazz legends as Buddy Rich, Mel Torme, Gordon Jenkins and, at a time when most white bandleaders refused to hire blacks, Billie Holiday.

'We've found it about impossible to live together'
Another famous roster: his wives. They included actresses Lana Turner (wife No. 3, 1940), Ava Gardner (No. 5, 1945), and Evelyn Keyes (No. 8, 1957) and novelist Kathleen Winsor, author of the 1944 best-seller "Forever Amber" (No. 6, 1946).

The marriage to Keyes, best know for playing the middle of the three O'Hara sisters in "Gone With the Wind," lasted the longest, until 1985, but they led separate lives for much of that time.

"I like her very much and she likes me, but we've found it about impossible to live together," he said in a 1973 interview.

After his first burst of stardom, his good looks made Hollywood come calling. It was while filming "Dancing Coed," 1939, that he met Turner. In 1940, he appeared in another musical, "Second Chorus," and got two Academy Award nominations for his musical contributions -- for best score and best song ("Love of My Life.")

A volatile and superbly intelligent man, Shaw hated the loss of privacy that stardom brought, had little use for signing autographs and once caused an uproar by calling jitterbugging fans "morons." He later said he was just referring to the rowdy ones.

"I could never understand why people wanted to dance to my music," he once said. "I made it good enough to listen to."

He chafed at having to play "Begin the Beguine" ad nauseam, wishing audiences would be more willing to accept new material. ("I mean, it's a good tune if you are going to be associated with one tune, but I didn't want that.")

House Un-American Activities Committee
He retired from performing several times -- finally putting down his clarinet for good in the mid-'50s. After that, he lived in Spain for a time, operated a farm, and turned to literature full-time. He was a voracious reader since childhood, and had already produced a well-received autobiography, "The Trouble with Cinderella," in 1952.

"I did all you can do with a clarinet," he said. "Any more would have been less."

He put out two collections of short fiction, "I Love You, I Hate You, Drop Dead!" and "The Best of Intentions." He spent years working on a voluminous autobiographical novel tracing the rise of a young jazz musician, whom he called Albie Snow.

"I've lived for a long time and I've learned a few things that I'm passing on," he said.

Shaw was born Arthur Arshawsky on May 23, 1910, in New York City; his immigrant parents struggled to earn a living in the clothing business.

He began his professional career while still in his teens, first playing saxophone, then switching to clarinet to take advantage of a job opportunity.

By the time he was in his early 20s, he was a highly paid member of a CBS radio orchestra. After the first of his many retirements from the music business, he returned to New York and began assembling his first orchestra. "Begin the Beguine" and fame followed not long afterward.

He enlisted in the Navy during World War II and wound up spending most of his time leading a band, giving shows for the troops.

An outspoken liberal, Shaw was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1953 when it was investigating Communist influence in entertainment. For once, Shaw was contrite, telling committee members he had attended a couple of Communist meetings after the war because of his interest in social justice and world peace -- but had never joined the party or given it any money.

"I hate to admit that I was a dupe, but I guess I was," he said. Committee members responded with sympathy, one telling him to go out and use his talent "to fight for true Americanism."

His only musical activity in recent years was conducting a revival band he organized in the early 1980s, featuring arrangements Shaw's bands had used in the past. He did not play his clarinet.

Shaw was often asked about his supposed rivalry with fellow clarinetist Goodman. He said: "Benny, who was every bit as dedicated as I was, wanted to be an instrumentalist -- he was a superb technician -- while I wanted to be a musician. I think my mind was more complex than his."
"The cause of reform is hurt, not helped, when an activist makes an idiotic suggestion."

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#9 Post by mousethief » Fri Dec 31, 2004 7:38 am

I take it back. Here's my favorite line:

"I could never understand why people wanted to dance to my music," he once said. "I made it good enough to listen to."

Kalman
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#10 Post by CafeSavoy » Sat Jan 01, 2005 12:23 pm

mousethief wrote:"I could never understand why people wanted to dance to my music," he once said.
Lots of people wonder the same thing too.

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#11 Post by Yakov » Sun Jan 02, 2005 10:32 am

ba-ZING!

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#12 Post by AlekseyKosygin » Sun Jan 02, 2005 3:12 pm

CafeSavoy wrote:
mousethief wrote:"I could never understand why people wanted to dance to my music," he once said.
Lots of people wonder the same thing too.
Damn really? What kind of idiot would think that Artie Shaw isn't danceable?

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#13 Post by kitkat » Sun Jan 02, 2005 9:40 pm

I've long thought most of his songs are way too "pretty" or stiff...within my collection, anyway. It's only because there were & are people out there who're so enthused to dance to him that I keep looking for sale prices on good Shaw collections to explore more of his stuff. Otherwise I would've given up on him long ago as someone whose albums I should actively look for.

I do like the albums with pictures of him as a young guy, though. He was damn hot. :twisted:

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#14 Post by GemZombie » Sun Jan 02, 2005 11:40 pm

I love Shaw music.

It's a personal preference, but some of my favorite tunes to dance to are done by Shaw. His personality, or lack of, doesn't really concern me when it comes to music I like.

kitkat, I can think of a lot of his songs that are "pretty" or "stiff", but there are so many that have that non-stiff, dirty edge that I love about swing era music. Definitely more refined than a lot of the black bands, which can be a turn off sometimes... but hardly as stiff as Miller, or even a lot of Goodman stuff. (Shaw said one of the reasons he quit music was that his perfectionism drove him crazy.).


Some great swingin' tunes:
* The G5 stuff is great Jazz, and fairly dancable.
- Summit Ridge Drive
- Special Delivery Stomp
- The Grabtown Grapple
- The Gentle Grifter
* Oh! Lady Be Good/Double Mello
* Carioca
* Back Bay Shuffle
* Diga Diga Doo (yes I know there are many other good/better versions)
* My Blue Heaven (g5 or big band versions)
* Everything is Jumpin'
* The Hornet
* Man From Mars
* Chant (of the Jungle)
* Free Wheelin'
* Sugar Foot Stomp (again, many good versions of this song by others... intro contains a reference to Rhapsody in blue that is interesting.)


--Some of these tunes may or may not be overplayed in the Swing Scene, but I tell you, everytime I hear them they make me want to get up and move. To me that's the sign of a great dance tune. Shaw may or may not have liked dancers, I just don't care. He played some great music to dance to.

Oh, and if you haven't listed to his "Concerto for Clarinet" you're really missing something, it's quite good. Danceable in parts too.

A couple of other notes: I generally hate Strings in swing music. I think it sounds out of place. Shaw did a lot of work with Strings during a certain period of his career. He has a few songs that I think strings work well with.. probably the only big band that experimented with strings that I can tolerate, or even in some cases like:

- Don't Fall Asleep (Pauline Bryne)
- The Skeleton in the Closet
- My Heart Belongs to Daddy (Kitty Kallen) -- he manages to use "Nightmare" in the song. It has a eerie quality that changes the meaning of the song... just amazing. A must listen in my opinion. (not a swing dance tune).

And for those who are caught up on the whole "not danceable" kick I could say the same about almost any band from back in the day. Ellingtons is amazing, but I can find you tons of songs that aren't dancable. So what? Doesn't mean it's not good music. Maybe there is more undancable Shaw music than there is dancable... but when you find something that is "danceable", it's usually really good stuff (again in my opinion).

I have a lot of stuff on Vinyl that I've never heard anyone play before. Damned good stuff! Guess it's time to break that out.

PS, if Reuben ever invited me to do one of those DJ'd battle of the Big Bands, I'd pick Shaw as my artist of choice. :)

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#15 Post by Charleston Charlie » Mon Jan 03, 2005 3:08 am

His personality, or lack of, doesn't really concern me when it comes to music I like.
Artie Shaw? Lacking personality? Are we talking about the same guy?

And stiff? I don't think so. Artie himself preferred his broadcasts and live recordings, and from what I have heard of the live stuff, his bands could be anything BUT.
"‘Swing’ is an adjective or a verb, not a noun. All jazz musicians should swing. There is no such thing as a ’swing band’ in music.”-
Artie Shaw

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