Friday, March 8, 2013

Bogus Artie Shaw Downloads?

I've learned a lot over the years by comparing alternate and rejected 'takes' done by great jazz musicians. One of my favorite sets of Edmond Hall recordings, for instance, was issued on an LP entitled "Rompin' in '44", with alternate takes of many of his best recordings. So when I ran across an intriguing series of downloads offered on Amazon--advertised as alternate takes of Artie Shaw and his Orchestra--I jumped at the chance to hear them.

Unfortunately, I jumped too soon. I should have double checked Vladamir Simosko's exhaustive discography first. In it, he points out that Artie Shaw's version of 'Temptation' was recorded in one take in September of 1940--not ten takes, as on my download.

Even without knowledge of the original 'Temptation' session from 1940, listening betrays this as a karaoke job immediately. The clarinetist on these recordings misses the glissando at the end of every take, and his phrasing doesn't follow Shaw's on the opening theme. I've never heard a recording where Shaw missed a glissando--even in live versions of 'Temptation' and the Concerto for Clarinet he nails them. Moreover there is a certain technique Shaw used to gliss, which would prevent him from missing in the manner of this clarinetist. In other words, if Shaw was to miss the gliss at the end of 'Temptation', he'd have missed it in different way.

These recordings are simply not Artie Shaw. 

There are several sets of these downloads offered: I only bought one (and am sorry enough). Another, found here, suggests more possible information. If the numbers 2-26-59 refer to the date of the session, we know that Artie Shaw had already retired. It is possible that these might be rejected takes from Dave Pell's cover band recordings from around that time. If so, it might be Ed Rosa on clarinet. But the one Pell album I have doesn't include 'Temptation.'

It is further suspicious that these recordings popped onto the market just two years after Shaw's death in 2004.

I think these should be investigated, and unless clarified as a cover band of some sort, removed.

If anyone has more information on this and can shine some light on the problem, I encourage them to do so.

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