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Album Review

Hep Records presents a fabulous three-CD chronological core sample of Artie Shaw's recording activity between the autumn of 1944 and the summer of 1945. What made both the Artie Shaw Orchestra and his Gramercy Five so exciting, in addition to the leader's marvelous clarinet, was the continuous presence of trumpeter Roy Eldridge and pianist Dodo Marmarosa, two brilliant musicians who brought in fresh ideas and vital creative energies. The sheer volume of excellent music packed into this anthology is extraordinary. Great moments occur during Buster Harding's "Lady Day" and Eldridge's "Little Jazz." There are occasional nice vocals by Hal Stevens and Imogene Lynn, but it's the instrumentals that are so powerfully exhilarating. Artie Shaw was a genius. These 65 vintage recordings (including four rare radio broadcast performances) demonstrate exactly how and why.

1944-45, Artie Shaw and His Orchestra
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