Artie Shaw and His Orchestra/Gramercy Five – Camp San Luis Obispo – September 26, 1945 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
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Artie and his Orchestra, along with his Gramercy Five in an appearance at Camp San Luis Obispo from September 26, 1945 and captured for posterity by Armed Forces Radio as part of their series Spotlight Bands.
This is one of several dates Shaw and his band appeared for AFRS between September and October 1945. I’ve posted some of the other shows from that period and this is a continuation from that series.
It’s interesting that Artie Shaw hasn’t achieved the same stature as Benny Goodman, who also did wonders for popularizing the Clarinet. Some say it was because his actual commitment to Jazz was uncertain. It may have been Shaw’s experimenting with different instrument combinations (the harpsichord, for example) that led some to believe he wasn’t serious and that his use of strings was more of a Pop/mainstream contribution than using instrumentation that was considered synonymous with Jazz.
It’s ironic that just about every Jazz musician of note since then has recorded at least one album with Strings and that it created a whole new landscape to work with.
It could also be that Artie Shaw was something of a Renaissance Man; enjoying several careers rather than focus strictly on one. He did drop out of Music for a while. Aside from one album on Verve, Artie Shaw’s reputation consisted primarily of reissues of his earlier Big Band period and he did nothing to hide his disdain for the Music Business in general (further evidence it’s been that way a long-long time).
But the fact of the matter is, Shaw was a brilliant musician and forward thinking artist. One whose contributions offered a new path of expression that paved the way for a lot of innovation to come.
It certainly begs the opportunity to dig beyond the surface to see what else was influential at the time; conscious or not – it might be surprising.
In any event, if you haven’t listened to the other Shaw posts I’ve put up the past few years, this one might be worth a listen, if nothing else but as a stepping off point to further investigation.
The Universe of Music is vast.