Artie Shaw: Top Bandleaders in the Swing Era

Topics: Jazz, Bossa nova, Big band Pages: 3 (1094 words) Published: April 19, 2005
Born in New York City, Artie Shaw would become one of the top bandleaders in the swing era. He began his musical career as a highly sought-after alto saxophone player in the New York area, and was able to benefit from the growth of radio and studio recordings. As he perfected his technical ability with various dance bands, he was still relatively unknown in the early 30's when he began to focus exclusively on the Clarinet while Swing music began to grow in popularity.

While we may carefully analyze the two pieces to satisfy our curiosity regarding musical evolution in Jazz, we should also not lose sight of the fact that these are two very enjoyable styles of music. From the lively swing orchestras inspiring large audiences to dance, to the softer Bossa Nova sound which is pleasing to hear in a relaxed setting, both have contributed to the growth of musical creativity in Jazz from the 1930's through today.

Shaw first broke through with an unusual string quartet in New York's Imperial Theater. By early 1937, Shaw had formed a conventional swing band which would eventually record "Begin the Beguine". Tormented by the pressures that came with unwanted fame, Artie Shaw disbanded his band at the height of his fame, but was able to mount a comeback with a new band the following year to record many more hit songs. Artie Shaw would go on to serve honorably in the US Navy during World War 2, but after returning in the mid-40's it became clear that the times had changed, and it was no longer economically viable to support a big swing band. He continued to play sporadically and attempt to lead new bands until discouragement led him to announce his retirement in the mid-1950's, after which he would never even play the clarinet again.

Antonio Carlos Jobim, also known by his lifelong nickname of "Tom", grew up in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. During his late teens he began to pursue an education as an Architect, but by the time he turned 20, he could not resist a...
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