Category: Masterpieces

“Star Dust” (1940) Artie Shaw

The story: It is always challenging to write objectively and accurately about Artie Shaw’s music and personality. On the one hand, much of the music Shaw made during the swing era was wonderful, indeed great. On the other, when exploring Shaw’s music, one usually encounters a good many myths and distortions surrounding the man, and […]

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“Tenderly” (1953) Art Tatum

“Tenderly” Composed by Walter Gross. Recorded on December 28-29, 1953 by Art Tatum for Clef in Los Angeles. Art Tatum, solo piano. The story: How does one begin to discuss the piano artistry of Art Tatum? Adjectives like magnificent, incredible and amazing are inadequate.Tatum was better than that.What exactly did Tatum do when he played the piano? […]

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“Sing, Sing, Sing” (1937) Benny Goodman

  “Sing, Sing, Sing” Composed by Louis Prima; initial vocal arrangement by Jimmy Mundy. Recorded by Benny Goodman and His Orchestra on July 6, 1937 for Victor in Hollywood, CA. Benny Goodman, clarinet, directing: Harry James, first trumpet; Ziggy Elman and Chris Griffin, trumpets; Murray McEachern and Red Ballard, trombones; Hymie Shertzer first alto saxophone; […]

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“Reflections in D” (1953) Duke Ellington and (1978) Bill Evans

“Reflections in D” Composed by Duke Ellington Recorded by Duke Ellington for Capitol on April 13,1953 in Los Angeles. Duke Ellington, piano; Wendell Marshall, bass. The story and the music:  “When an art form is created, the question is how do you come to it, not how does it come to you. Beethoven’s music is not going […]

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“Jubilee” (1938) Louis Armstrong

“Jubilee” Composed by Hoagy Carmichael (music) and Stanley Adams (words). Arranged by Chappie Willet. Recorded by Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra for Decca on January 12, 1938 in Los Angeles. Louis Armstrong, trumpet and vocal, directing: Shelton “Scad” Hemphill, Louis Bacon, Henry “Red” Allen, trumpets; Wilbur de Paris, George Washington, J.C. Higginbotham, trombones; Pete Clarke […]

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“Sepia Panorama” (1940) Duke Ellington

“Sepia Panorama” Composed by Duke Ellington; arranged by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. Recorded by Duke Ellington and His Orchestra on July 24, 1940 in New York. Duke Ellington, piano, directing: Charles M. “Cootie” Williams, first trumpet; Wallace Jones, trumpet; Rex Stewart, cornet; Lawrence Brown, Joseph “Tricky Sam” Nanton, trombones; Juan Tizol, valve trombone; Otto […]

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“Lady Be Good” (1936) Lester Young and Count Basie

The Story: Lester Willis Young, one of the most influential musicians in the history of jazz, was born on August 27, 1909, in Woodville, Mississippi. After a lengthy apprenticeship spent in numerous black territory bands in the Midwest, Young learned to read music at sight, achieved complete control of the instruments he played (which by […]

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“Snowfall” (1941) Claude Thornhill

“Snowfall” Composed and arranged by Claude Thornhill. Recorded for Columbia by Claude Thornhill and His Orchestra on May 21, 1941 in New York. Claude Thornhill, piano, directing: Conrad Gozzo, first trumpet; Lyle F. “Rusty” Dedrick, Bob Sprentall, trumpets; Tasso Harris and Bob Jenney, trombones; Irving H. “Fazola” Prestopnik, Dale Brown, Ted Goddard, George Paulsen, John […]

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“I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” (1946) Les Brown

“I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” Composed by Irving Berlin; arranged by Skip Martin. Recorded by Les Brown and His Orchestra for Columbia on September 16, 1946 in Hollywood. Les Brown, directing: Don Paladino, Al Muller, Bob Higgins, Jimmy Zito and Ray Linn, trumpets; Don Boyd, Ray Klein, Dick Gould, Warren “Stumpy” Brown, trombones; […]

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“Body and Soul” (1939) Coleman Hawkins

“Body and Soul” Composed by Johnny Green; “Head” arrangement. Recorded by Coleman Hawkins and His Orchestra for RCA Bluebird on October 11, 1939. Coleman Hawkins, tenor saxophone, directing: Tommy Lindsey and Joe Guy, trumpets; Earl Hardy, trombone; Gene Rodgers, piano; William Oscar Smith, bass; Arthur Herbert, drums. The story: Coleman Hawkins (1904-1969), was one of […]

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