Artie Shaw

The Best of the Big Bands

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Artie Shaw's first big band was quite unusual, originally comprised of four horns, a string quartet and a four-piece rhythm section. This unimaginatively titled CD (whose chatty liner notes unfortunately do not include personnel and date information) has the first 16 recordings by this fine orchestra, featuring vocals by the forgettable Wesley Vaughn, Peg LaCentra and the young Tony Pastor but more importantly, successfully matching together the horns with the strings on such enjoyable numbers as "Japanese Sandman," "Sugar Foot Stomp" and "The Skeleton in the Closet." Pity that this potentially great orchestra did not catch on.

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