Artie Shaw

Complete Artie Shaw, Vol. 3 (1939-1940)

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Complete Artie Shaw, Vol. 3 (1939-1940) Review

by Scott Yanow

The third of seven two-LP sets in Bluebird's definitive series consists of the last 18 recordings by Shaw's very popular 1939 orchestra (riding on the success of "Begin the Beguine"), his two orchestral sessions of 1940 (recorded after the clarinetist's return from his celebrated flight to Mexico) and three of the four selections performed by his new small group, The Gramercy Five in September 1940. The 1939 orchestra (featuring Georgie Auld's tenor, Buddy Rich's drums and vocals from Helen Forrest and Tony Pastor) is at its best on "Lady Be Good" and "I Surrender Dear." Artie Shaw's first session after his return yielded his second biggest hit ("Freseni") and some fascinating classical-influenced pieces with a full string section. The initial Gramercy Five date included yet another major best-seller in "Summit Ridge Drive." Shaw just could not avoid success at this time despite his best efforts.