Thursday, September 03, 2009

Artie Shaw- But Not For Me

No more.

Blue-haired big band fans are frequent targets of my wrath at Plastic Sax. Because they're so passionate about their favorite music- and because they have the money to back it up- they continue to dictate much of what gets booked at the various jazz series in my town.

Here's a difficult admission for someone of my generation: their music was great.

On the rare occasions I dip into the white sweet big band sounds of Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller and Jack Teagarden, I find myself bingeing on the style. This enchanting 1945 track from Artie Shaw's orchestra shows why. It's one of 65 tracks on this wonderful collection. The intricate chart, Shaw's masterful clarinet and a horn section that includes Roy Eldridge (the band was integrated by this date) combine to create unbeatable dance music.

It's difficult to comprehend decades after the fact, but big bands were the popular music of the day and jazz musicians like Shaw were celebrities. Need proof? In addition to selling tens of millions of recordings, Shaw could boast that Lana Turner and Ava Gardner were among his eight wives. Can you imagine, say, Brad Mehldau marrying both Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Alba? I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Need more? Of course you do. Check out this elaborate video from 1939. You also need to get hip to "Nightmare", Shaw's foreboding and awesomely evil theme song.

"Heaven Only Knows" how much I love the new song and video from A.R.M. It features There Stands the Glass favorites Brother Ali and Budo.

Wonderful jazz pianist Eddie Higgins passed away. Here's his remarkable discography. Doug Ramsey wrote a nice tribute. (Tip via BGO.)

Saxophonist Joe Maneri died last month. I hadn't been familiar with him, but after listening to his music online, I realize that I'd been missing out on a wonderful talent. This, for instance, is dope.

I'm saving my initial session with the leaked Jay-Z album for the holiday weekend.

The Jacka is back in Kansas City. I plan to stop by during his appearance Saturday at 7th Heaven.

I'm really impressed that this weekend's Chicago Jazz Festival prominently features the likes of Jason Adasiewicz's Rolldown.

I recall consciously skipping DJ AM's last gig in Kansas City. It's just not my scene. Here's good fan footage of what I missed.

Here's a new track from XTA-C, Kansas City's "Mr. So Heavy."

Kansas City Click: There's a startlingly enthusiastic buzz surrounding the Dandy Warhols' Thursday show at the Beaumont.

Nashville's Kat Jones joins Kansas City staples Howard Iceberg and Chad Rex at Prospero's Books on Friday.

You've never been to Santi Cali Gon Days? Remedy that situation Saturday. I'm sure there's an Eagles tribute band or some such but I usually bounce between a beer tent and the gospel stage.

The KC Irish Fest wraps up Sunday with the Elders.

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