Saturday, April 28, 2007

The United States Means Sky-Scrapers, Clark Gable, and Artie Shaw

Artie Shaw was the greatest jazz clarinetist that ever lived.

However, his life as a musician was always clouded by his desire to be a serious writer and this led him to leave his career as a musician behind- twice! The stifling expectations of his fan base seemed constrictive to his musical growth and he found the routine of playing the same songs over and over again with very little variation rather droll.

Later in his musical career, he began experimenting with strings and woodwinds and released an album titled Modern Music For Clarinet. There wasn't much response to this album. Since he didn't seem to be able to make a living off of the kind of music that he was interested in at that time, he left the city and moved to the woods, where he took a job chopping wood and spent his free time writing.

In his 90's, he authorized a 5-CD box set entitled Self Portrait and it encapsulated all the songs that he thought were the very best recordings in his repertoire. It's highly recommended!

This EP is a sample of some recordings that took place between 1938-1941. Released in 1958 using the new microgroove technique that was available for the first time, RCA Victor took on the task of remastering old 78 RPM recordings and making them available on 7-inch record.

For more information about Artie Shaw, his writings, and his catalogue of sheet music, refer to his official website.

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