Culture, Global

Jazz Giant Artie Shaw Dies

Arthur Jacob Arshawsky 1910-2004

bio ripped/condensed from wikipedia:

Arthur Jacob Arshawsky (May 23, 1910 – December 30, 2004), better known as Artie Shaw, was an accomplished jazz clarinetist, composer, bandleader, and writer.

He was born in New York City and began learning the saxophone when he was 15 and by age 16 he began to tour with a band. He returned to New York City and became a session musician. During the Swing Era, his big band was very popular with hits like “Begin the Beguine“. He was know for being an innovator in the big band idiom, at time usuing unusual instrumentation. His piece Interlude in B-flat was the first known example of what came to be known as Third Stream Music. He hired Billie Holiday as his band’s vocalist, becoming the first white bandleader to hire a black female as a full-time singer.

During WWII he enlisted in the U.S. Navy (along with his entire band) and served with them in the Pacific theater (similar to Glenn Miller’s wartime band in Europe). He spent approximately 18 months playing for navy personnel, sometimes as many as four shows a day. He received a medical discharge.

Shaw was married eight times. Among his wives were Betty Kern, daughter of songwriter Jerome Kern, and actresses Ava Gardner, Lana Turner and Evelyn Keyes.

In 2004, he was presented with a lifetime achievement Grammy Award.

Coverage: E! | SF Chron | Xinhua | | BBC

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