Tag: swingandbeyond.com

“Begin the Beguine” (2004) Sheryl Crow – from the film “De-Lovely”

  I have previously posted here at swingandbeyond.com Artie Shaw’s classic 1938 recording of Cole Porter’s “Begin the Beguine.” Since 1938, dozens, perhaps hundreds of artists have recorded “Begin the Beguine.” Few of those recordings have approached the Shaw version (masterfully arranged by Jerry Gray), for sheer musicality. When I find any performance of a […]

Read More

“Don’t Take Your Love From Me” – Artie Shaw and Lena Horne (1941)

“Don’t Take Your Love From Me” Composed by Henry Nemo; arranged by Artie Shaw. Recorded by Artie Shaw and His Orchestra on June 26, 1941 in New York. Artie Shaw, clarinet, directing: Henry “Red” Allen, trumpet; J.C.Higginbotham, trombone; Benny Carter, alto saxophone; Leo Kruczak, Kurt Dieterle, Max Silverman, Sergei Kotlarsky, Louis Edlin, Lee Kahn, Harry […]

Read More

“Red Top” (1945) Woody Herman

“Red Top” Head arrangement on the blues worked out by Woody Herman and his band. Recorded by Woody Herman and His Orchestra live at the Meadowbrook Ballroom in Cedar Grove, New Jersey on February 18, 1945. Woody Herman, clarinet, directing: Ray Wetzel, first trumpet; Saul “Sonny” Berman, Walter “Pete” Candoli, Carl “Bama” Warwick, Charles Frankhauser, […]

Read More

“Blue Reverie” (1937-38) Duke Ellington, and Benny Goodman’s 1938 Carnegie Hall Concert

“Blue Reverie” Composed by Duke Ellington and Harry Carney; arranged by Duke Ellington. Recorded by Cootie Williams and His Rug Cutters for Variety on March 8-9, 1937 in New York. Edward K. “Duke” Ellington, piano, directing: Charles M.”Cootie” Williams, trumpet; Joseph “Tricky Sam” Nanton, trombone; John C. “Johnny” Hodges, soprano and alto saxophones; Harry H. […]

Read More

“The Christmas Song” and Nat “King” Cole

The story: Try to rewind your mind to the summer of 1945, in the San Fernando Valley district of Los Angeles, California. I quote singer Mel Torme’ to fill in the rest of the details: “One excessively hot afternoon, I drove out to Bob Wells’s house in Toluca Lake for a work session. The San Fernando […]

Read More

“Tuxedo Junction” Erskine Hawkins (1939) and Glenn Miller (1940)

“Tuxedo Junction” Composed by Erskine Hawkins, William Johnson and Julian Dash; head arrangement organized by William Johnson. Recorded by Erskine Hawkins and His Orchestra for RCA-Bluebird on July 18, 1939 in New York. Erskine Hawkins, trumpet, directing: Sammy Lowe, first trumpet; Marcellus Green, Wilbur “Dud” Bascomb, trumpets; Bob Range and Edward Sims, trombones; William Johnson, […]

Read More

In Finegan’s Wake: a Salute to Master Arranger Bill Finegan – Part 1.

The story: This post is not about James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. Rather, it is a look back at the musical heritage that master swing era (and later) arranger Bill Finegan has left us. William James Finegan (1917-2008), lived a long and musically productive life.Indeed, he was writing music professionally for over seventy years. Aficionados of his […]

Read More

“Une Lettre de Jean” (1997) The Morpheus Trio

“Une Letter de Jean” Composed by Jean-Paul Monsche’ Recorded by the Morpheus Trio for Lucid in 1997 in Los Angeles. The Morpheus Trio: Jean-Paul Monsche’, piano; Stephen Heidtmann, bass; Willie McNeil, drums. The Story: This recording is truly rare, in many ways the ultimate sleeper. I have never encountered it anywhere in the last two […]

Read More

“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 […]

Read More