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Artie Shaw


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Arthur Arshawsky (23 May 1910 – 30 December 2004), better known as Artie Shaw, was an accomplished alto saxophonist, clarinetist, composer, arranger, bandleader, and author.
He was born in New York City (but grew up in New Haven, Connecticut) and began learning the saxophone when he was 15 and by age 16, had begun to tour with a band. He reached Hollywood the first time, as a sideman with Irving Aaronson’s band in 1931, performing at the famous Orange Blossom Room (site of the first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929). Returning to New York City in1932, he became a highly in-demand session musician, working for example as one of just a handful of accompanists to Bing Crosby’s first signature radio show for William S. Paley’s already powerful and influential CBS radio network. Ultimately, Artie (who was known strictly as “Art” Shaw until his fortuitous Summer, 1938 contract with RCA Victor records’ Bluebird label commenced) organized and led five, full-time touring orchestras that were all extremely popular -save the last, from 1949, with its be-bop oriented book. Ironically, that final Shaw-led big band (populated with players like Al Cohn), is considered by most jazz critics to have been Artie’s best. With time out to lead a Navy service band (in the Pacific combat theater) during WWII, Shaw’s actual big band- leading career lasted less than a decade overall -yet, it was a remarkably productive one, populated with some fourteen “Gold” records.


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