Personalities | Artie Shaw | Thirties | Jazz & Blues

(Clarinet, bandleader, composer, 1910–2004)

If the 1930s comes down to about half a dozen great brand names, Artie Shaw’s is surely one of them. After much freelancing in the early 1930s and several years of band-building, Shaw (née Arthur Arshawsky) hit his stride just as Benny Goodman peaked in 1938. But no one ever confused these two unique, clarinet-playing masters. Shaw had a big, broad-shouldered lyricism that could turn diamond-hard in high registers.

His lines were long, bobbing and eloquently fluent. Many clarinetists committed his ‘Stardust’ solo to memory. When drummer Buddy Rich joined in 1939, the band acquired a supercharged power. But if Shaw loved music and the perquisites of stardom, he disliked the spotlight. He abandoned music in a huff at the end of 1939, returning sporadically between bouts of writing and well-publicized marriages and leading the Gramercy Five in 1953–54. Ultimately, and still in his prime, he disowned the clarinet itself in 1955.

Styles & Forms | Thirties | Jazz & Blues
Personalities | Stuff Smith | Thirties | Jazz & Blues

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel


An extensive music information resource, bringing together the talents and expertise of a wide range of editors and musicologists, including Stanley Sadie, Charles Wilson, Paul Du Noyer, Tony Byworth, Bob Allen, Howard Mandel, Cliff Douse, William Schafer, John Wilson...


Classical, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country and more. Flame Tree has been making encyclopaedias and guides about music for over 20 years. Now Flame Tree Pro brings together a huge canon of carefully curated information on genres, styles, artists and instruments. It's a perfect tool for study, and entertaining too, a great companion to our music books.

Rock, A Life Story

Rock, A Life Story

The ultimate story of a life of rock music, from the 1950s to the present day.

David Bowie

David Bowie

Fantastic new, unofficial biography covers his life, music, art and movies, with a sweep of incredible photographs.