Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
King of the Clarinet 1938-39
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Listen to Samples
Live radio performances from Artie Shaw's greatest band!
Ryan Harvey | Los Angeles, CA USA | 03/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"[Important note: There is a mistake on the track listings above. The first CD obviously doesn't contain so many tracks! This is what is actually on the first CD: "Nightmare" "Rose Room" "Comes Love" "Carioca" "You're Mine You" "Go Fly a Kite" "Yesterdays" "Don't Worry About Me" "My Heart Stood Still" "Traffic Jam" "Melancholy Lullaby" "In the Mood" "Sweet Adeline" "Lover Come Back to Me" "Two Sleepy People" "I'm Coming Virginia" "One Foot in the Groove" "Just a Kid Named Joe" "Blue Interlude" "Day In, Day Out" "Leapin' at the Lincoln"]A lot of shoppers might wonder what exactly this box set of three CDs from swing bandleader Artie Shaw actually contains. Here's the straight deal: these are recordings of live radio broadcasts of Artie Shaw and his Orchestra that were performed between November 1938 and November 1939. The broadcasts came from The Blue Room in the Hotel Lincoln in New York City, the Summer Terrace at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Roof in Boston, and the Café Rouge at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York. (Trivia note: this is the hotel that hosted Glenn Miller's Orchestra for years, and lead to using the hotel's phone number, Pennsylvania 6-5000, as a name for one of their pieces.) Although recordings of live radio are sometimes inferior, this collection has superb sound and captures the Shaw band at its peak: relaxed, creative, and swingin'. You'll hear many classics in new versions, as well as some wonderful rarities. There are a couple of duds, as Artie Shaw himself admits, but even these are interesting!The Artie Shaw Orchestra of 1938-1939 was the best band he ever assembled, and the most popular. This is the orchestra that recorded "Begin and Beguine," Shaw's best-selling record, and contained a line-up of astonishing musicians: Buddy Rich on drums, Tony Pastor on tenor sax and vocals, Georgie Auld on tenor sax, Helen Forrest on lead female vocals, and of course Shaw himself playing the most brilliant clarinet music you'll ever hear. The music on these recordings shows them powering at their best, and you can see why they became America's most popular band of the time.The sound does contain ambient crowd noise and applause, but the music comes through clearly and powerfully: I have no hesitation recommending this for the sound quality. And there are so many surprises and joys waiting here for the Artie Shaw enthusiast, or anyone who loves big band jazz and swing. For example:DSIC 1: A sensational recording of the jazz standard "Rose Room." Helen Forrest singing one of Shaw's popular records, "Comes Love." Tony Pastor's hilarious vocals on a little-know gem, "Go Fly a Kite." Another Helen Forrest stunner, "Melancholy Lullaby." A fun original Artie Shaw number, "One Foot in the Groove." The big surprise, though, is "In the Mood." This recording came before Glenn Miller's version, and it's a stunner: Shaw himself describes it as "a more sophisticated, torrid, Black beat. It's post-Fletcher Henderson...kind of Jimmie Lunceford-Chick Webby." You might not be able to listen to the Glenn Miller version after you hear this, it's that good!DISC 2: The best disc -- so much is great here! Helen Forrest crooning on "Moonray." An amazing Artie Shaw original, "Man from Mars," which shows how incredible this band was. "St. Louis Blues," which sounds better than the studio recording the band made of it. Another funny vocal from Tony Pastor, "Put That Down in Writing." The fast-moving "Just You, Just Me." And tons more. Plus, you get to hear Artie Shaw briefly interviewed by the radio announcer (he sounds pretty eager to away!).DISC 3: A great fast rendition of "It Had to Be You." A version of "Back Bay Shuffle" of which Artie Shaw says, "I like it better than the record [version] because the time (as opposed to the tempo) is better." Tony Pastor sings a great version of "I Can't Give You Anything But Love." The disc ends on a furious foot-stomper, appropriately titled "Hold Your Hats."The large book that comes with the set is jammed with information. There is commentary for each song, and quotes from Artie Shaw himself, who listened to these recordings and gave his own opinion on them. He is very candid, and dismisses many of the song as pop junk he was forced to play. About the lesser number "Summer Souvenirs," he comments, "Talk about sentimental drivel...a perfect example of what I mean by a sappy lyric. It's a typical example of the kind of [junk] we sometimes had to play." Concerning "I Haven't Changed a Thing," he says, "The tune is maudlin, it's a stupid melody, and a stupid lyric, but it was well done..." But he makes many wonderful comments on the superb numbers: "I always had the best vocalists. Helen is wonderful on this..." "We played every tune with integrity." "That was a hell of a beat. Yeah, that knocked me out. We're up and we stay there...right to the very end." (He's talking about "Hold Your Hats," by the way.) It's a great pleasure to have his commentary on his own music.If you're new to Artie Shaw, you might want to get some of his studio recordings first, such as those available on the CD collections "Begin the Beguine" and "The Very Best of Artie Shaw." But you'll want to get this eventually. And Shaw's lovers can't miss this. Too many great treasures, and an awesome booklet loaded with Shaw's amazing personality."
Sixty Five Big Ones
Bob Nielsen (email@example.com) | Montgomery, Texas | 03/15/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Here's a chance to acquire sixty five of the absolute best of Artie Shaw's big band renditions of 1938-1939 (with vocalists Helen Forest and Tony Pastor). As you listen to these superbly recorded numbers, you gain a new appreciation for the craftmanship of the era and the frantic pace set by these artists, as evidenced by the fast tempo and pounding beat. This was the pre-WWII music that accompanied the fast dancing of the times. Just listening to this music produces a sense of the exhiliaration the dancers must have felt. Highly recommended."
Swing that never grows old
Phillip Sametz | South Melbourne,, Victoria, Australia | 05/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Shaw's arrangements from this period have a clarity and transparency second to none. He also allowed the great soloists in his band plenty of important opportunities, and had the best of the girl vocalists, Helen Forrest, on the stand with the band enshrined here. Having directed performancs of some of these arrangements, I can assure you they are still powerful and exciting: One Foot In The Groove, for example, has such a natural, driving swing it could have been written yesterday. Shaw himself is a miracle and perhaps one of the greatest clarinettists in every genre. You sometimes feel that every note he plays is a matter of life or death.The sound here is "live," which means warts and all, but the results are that much more exciting and unpredictable than the studio equivalents, where they exist. This is the basic literature of the swing era, well documented and indispensable."