Artie Shaw a Tribute
Artie Shaw--Cole Porter's Begin the Beguine
As I was showering and brushing my teeth this morning I happened to catch an NPR show on Artie Shaw. Here are some of the facts about this amazing musician, composer and writer who died at 94 in 2004.
He was born Arthur David Arshawski in New York City and grew up poor in New Haven, Connecticut. He started playing saxophone but soon switched to clarinet and was playing with big bands in his teens. He soon started his own successful big band. One of his early hits was Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine." In 1938, his was the first band to hire and travel with a black singer--Billie Holliday. Shaw made $60,000 a week at his peak. When swing and big bands' popularity faded and small jazz groups emerged, Shaw formed the highly successful Gramercy Five. Shaw was a believer in marriage. His eight wives included Ava Gardner, Lana Turner, Kathleen Windsor, author of "Forever Amber," and Jerome Kern's daughter. Aside from his other talents he was a precision marksman and an expert fly fisherman. Shaw enlisted in the Navy and was soon entertaining American troops in Pacific battle zones in the Pacific. He wrote an autobigraphy revealing the downside of the music business, three novels and several short stories.
NPR on Artie Shaw
- 100th Years of Jazz--NPR Show on Artie Shaw
The legendary jazz bandleader began his career playing with dance bands when he was still a teenager. Growing contemptuous of the bands' crowd-pleasing antics and trite music, he organized his own big band in 1938.
Frenesi, an Artie Shaw Hit
Artie Shaw Wikibio
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