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Artie Shaw & His New Music


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Artie lived a long and full life. He was born in 1910 and died in 2004. Enjoyed huge success in the dance band era and was thought to be technically superior as a clarinettist to Benny Goodman. A handsome ladies man Artie couldn’t resist marriage and went to the altar no less than eight times. He met Lana Turner one night, took her for a drink, and they got hitched next morning. Also counted the peerless Ava Gardner among his wives. Was a very witty guy. One day, at a concert at a theater in New York, an hysterical young fan leaped from the mezzanine and landed on the stage spraining his ankle. Artie walked up to him and said, “John Wilkes Booth I presume.” Private life aside, a great, great figure in the history of jazz. Headed up a small group, The Grammercy Five, with Johnny Guarneri on harpsichord, one of the first, if not THE first, use of the instrument in a jazz combo. It’s been estimated that his recording of Frenensi, with brass and strings, was one of the most danced-to numbers ever.

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