Artie Shaw

The Complete Rhythm Makers Sessions 1937-1938, Vol. 2

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It is confusing that this set is titled the Complete Rhythm Makers Sessions, 1937-1938, Vol. 2. In 2003, Jazzland issued a single disc with the same title that offered 25 tracks. This set is a double disc with 45!! Somebody's lying or stretching an interpretation of the facts to the breaking point. In any case, these sides are Artie Shaw's earliest after leaving the Three T's, a group that was comprised of brothers Charlie and Jack Teagarden, and Frankie Trumbauer. This mob stars Shaw, of course, but also first-chair trumpeter Max Kaminsky, tenor saxophonist and vocalist Tony Pastor, Hank Freeman on alto, guitarist Al Avola (who also played with Georgie Auld and later with Helen Forrest and Buddy Rich), drummer Cliff Leeman, and pianist Les Burness, who had been with Bunny Berigan before, and Shaw and Tony Pastor afterward. All of this material, of course, came before the late-1938 band that featured Auld, Rich, and Forrest, before "Begin the Beguile." Regardless, these sides virtually sing with swing, and tracks like "Shindig," "Whispers in the Dark," "Til the Clock Strikes Three," "The Folks Live on the Hill," and literally dozens of others reveal -- even at this juncture -- what an able and innovative bandleader Shaw was -- not to mention what a tough soloist. The sound is fine and warm, and the liner notes by Vladimir Simosko are informative and appear complete.

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