Today we celebrate the centenary of Artie Shaw. Shaw was one of the most gifted soloists on his chosen instrument in the history of jazz. It's hard to find out-of-print Shaw records, but this recording of Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse" from a 1938 transcription was about as close as I could find. My favorite sides of Shaw's considerable recorded output are his more experimental big band numbers from 1949, collected nicely here.
HAPPY 100TH, ARTIE!
HAPPY 100TH, ARTIE!
This ferociously swinging chart was written by Van Alexander who led a couple of sessions under the MIlls Blue Rhythm Band name in 1947. It was really more of a tribute to the popular band of the same name from the '30s. The ensembles are tight, the solos are wailin'--what a fine way to kick off a beautiful springtime weekend. Enjoy!
SWING THAT HARP
This track follows the familiar swing era formula made famous by Benny Goodman's "Sing, Sing, Sing (With A Swing)": pounding tom-toms, wailing minor key riffs, big crescendos. Formula or not, this is an excellent piece of music with brisk energy and a dynamic arrangement. The drummer is Nick Fatool.
The November 24, 1945 issue of Billboard described the just-released transcriptions of Brick Fleagle as "sides solely for the jazz fanatics, particularly those who like to be confused with something pre-sold as being different." Ouch. I like this piece by the guitarist/composer/arranger/ Fleagle and his "rehearsal band." I like the snakey lines of the trombone, the raggedy tenor and clarinet solos, the chromatic lines in the ensemble section, and the little minor key button at the end. That same Billboard review described this track as "a classical mood piece that sounds more like Duke Ellington with a hangover." Works for me.
Hey everybody, welcome to my new blog. I've recently discovered the treasures offered by the music blogging world--some of my favorite purveyors are listed there on the right. I love the idea of sharing music that would otherwise go unheard . While I adore all kinds of music from all over the globe and all periods of history, what I have to offer the blogosphere is very specific. I have a vast collection of records from the big band era, roughly 1935 to 1949. My favorite songs from this period are the brilliant instrumentals concocted by ace composers and arrangers. They usually have funny little titles and feature moments of virtuostic playing, inventive harmonies, and head-shaking grooves at all tempos. My intention is to never share music that is still in print--I encourage you to support music retailers and the artists whose records are still available. Also, unlike most music blogs, I will usually only post individual songs, as the concept of the long-playing record didn't emerge until after the big band era. Enjoy!