[Dixielandjazz] Shaw and "string sections in jazz"

Stan Brager sbrager at socal.rr.com
Sat Jan 1 22:10:06 PST 2005

Artie Shaw also created quite a stir in the jazz community when he performed
in New York City with a string section as early as 1935. See Art Shaw and
His Orchestra in 1936 for some great recordings. Most have been reissued on
Columbia (Sony) label CD's.

Stan Brager
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Charles Suhor" <csuhor at zebra.net>
To: "Charles Suhor" <csuhor at zebra.net>
Cc: "DJML" <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>; "Dingo" <roadie at btinternet.com>
Sent: Saturday, January 01, 2005 12:28 PM
Subject: Re: [Dixielandjazz] Shaw and "string sections in jazz"

> One more note on Artie Shaw.
> During the 40s, there was a recurring discussion in Down Beat and
> Metronome asking "Can a string section be used effectively in jazz?"
> Shaw was a pioneer in integrating strings with his big band, as on
> "Frenesi" and other records.
> It sounds naive now, but early on, when you heard strings in a big band
> jazz context then it actually sounded "foreign." Folks' ears weren't
> attuned to it. String sections were identified with classical music,
> early dance bands and Mickey groups that played "corny," backup for
> torch singers and crooners, etc. Even in the 50s, strings were seen
> either as suspect (Stan Kenton's use was called pretentious) or a very
> big deal, as when the "------------ with Strings" LPs came out (Charlie
> Parker, Clifford Brown, etc.; the earlier Bobby Hackett/Jackie Gleason
> sessions weren't promoted as jazz but as jazz-tinged easy listening).
> I don't remember when this changed--don't recall a particular band or
> recording that was called the groundbreaker, but I do know that by the
> 60s, arrangers were using strings routinely, even with pop/R&B stuff
> like the Temptations' excellent "Papa Was a Rolling Stone." This isn't
> an OKOM question, but does anyone on the list have some thoughts on it?
> Charlie Suhor

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