Artie Shaw was an American clarinetist, composer, and bandleader who led one of the most popular big bands in the United States during the late 1930s and early 1940s.
He was widely regarded as one of the finest clarinetists in jazz history, and his music continues to inspire and influence musicians today.
One question that many people have is which clarinet did Artie Shaw play?
According to the National Museum of American History, Artie Shaw played a Buffet-Crampon clarinet that was made by Henri Selmer in Paris, France in 1945. The clarinet was a B-flat instrument with a serial number of M6727, and it was previously owned and used by Shaw himself. This clarinet is now part of the museum’s collection and is considered a valuable piece of jazz history.
It’s worth noting that Artie Shaw was known for his perfectionism and attention to detail, and he often experimented with different types of clarinets and mouthpieces in search of the perfect sound.
However, the Buffet-Crampon clarinet that he played in the mid-1940s is perhaps the most well-known and iconic instrument associated with his music.
Artie Shaw’s Clarinet
Artie Shaw was known for his exceptional clarinet playing and his unique sound.
His clarinet was an essential part of his music and helped him achieve international success.
In this section, we will take a closer look at Artie Shaw’s clarinet, including the brand and the material.
The Clarinet’s Brand
Artie Shaw played several different brands of clarinets throughout his career, including Buffet, Selmer, and Conn.
However, he is most closely associated with Buffet clarinets. In fact, he played a Buffet clarinet during his most famous recording, “Begin the Beguine.
The Clarinet’s Material
Artie Shaw played both wood and metal clarinets at different points in his career.
The wooden clarinet that Artie Shaw played was made of Grenadilla wood, which is a type of African blackwood. This type of wood is known for its durability and resonance, which makes it a popular choice for clarinet makers.
In addition to the wood, the clarinet’s keys and mechanisms were made of metal. This is typical of most clarinets, regardless of the material of the body.
Overall, Artie Shaw’s clarinet was a Buffet clarinet made of Grenadilla wood with metal keys and mechanisms. This combination of materials helped him achieve his unique sound and made his clarinet playing stand out in the jazz world.
Artie Shaw’s Music Career
Artie Shaw was born on May 23, 1910, in New York City.
He began playing the saxophone at the age of 15 and later switched to the clarinet.
He turned professional in 1925 and played with various bands, including Irving Aaronson’s Commanders, Austin Wylie’s Golden Pheasant Orchestra, and Cleveland’s Austin Wylie Orchestra.
Big Bands Era
In the 1930s, Shaw became a prominent figure in the swing era.
He formed his first big band in 1936 and recorded his hit song “Begin the Beguine,” which was written by Cole Porter. The song became a huge success and helped solidify Shaw’s place in the music industry.
Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Shaw’s big band produced numerous hits, including “Interlude in B-Flat,” “Back Bay Shuffle,” “Moonglow,” and “Frenesi.” He also collaborated with other famous musicians, such as Buddy Rich, Billie Holiday, and Helen Forrest.
Third Stream Music Era
In the 1950s, Shaw transitioned to third stream music, which combined elements of classical music and jazz. He formed the Artie Shaw Gramercy Five, which featured musicians such as Barney Kessel, Tal Farlow, and Dodo Marmarosa.
The group produced several popular songs, including “If It’s You” and “The Big Store,” which featured a harpsichord.
Shaw retired from music in 1954 but returned briefly in the 1980s. He continued to receive recognition for his contributions to the music industry, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004.
Shaw passed away on December 30, 2004, in Newbury Park, California.
Throughout his career, Shaw was known for his technical proficiency and unique style of playing the clarinet. He was also a versatile musician who experimented with different genres and styles of music. His legacy as the “King of Swing” continues to influence musicians and fans alike.
Artie Shaw’s Legacy
Artie Shaw was one of the most influential clarinetists, composers, and bandleaders of the 20th century. He was also an accomplished author, whose writings explored the nature of creativity, the challenges of fame, and the complexities of human relationships. Shaw’s legacy can be seen in the many musicians, writers, and scientists who were inspired by his work, as well as in the countless fans who continue to enjoy his music today.
Influence on Music
Shaw’s impact on music cannot be overstated. He was a virtuoso clarinetist who helped to popularize the instrument in jazz and swing music. His technical skill, combined with his musicality and his ability to improvise, made him one of the most sought-after musicians of his time. Shaw’s recordings, including “Begin the Beguine,” “Stardust,” and “Frenesi,” remain classics of the swing era.
Shaw was also a prolific composer, whose works ranged from jazz standards to classical pieces. He was known for his innovative arrangements, which combined elements of swing, classical music, and other genres. Shaw’s music continues to be studied and performed by musicians around the world.
Influence on Literature
In addition to his musical achievements, Shaw was also a talented author. He wrote several books, including “The Trouble With Cinderella,” a memoir that explored the challenges of fame and success in the entertainment industry. Shaw’s writing was praised for its honesty and insight into the human condition.
Shaw’s legacy as a writer can be seen in the many authors who have been inspired by his work. His memoir, in particular, has been cited as an influence by other musicians and writers who have struggled with the pressures of fame and success.
Influence on Science
Although Shaw was primarily known for his music and writing, he also had an interest in science. He was particularly interested in the study of human behavior and creativity, and he believed that science could help to unlock the mysteries of the mind.
Shaw’s legacy in science can be seen in the many researchers who have been inspired by his work. His ideas about creativity and the creative process have been studied and debated by psychologists, neuroscientists, and other scientists who are interested in understanding how the mind works.
Overall, Artie Shaw’s legacy is one of innovation, creativity, and excellence. His contributions to music, literature, and science continue to inspire and influence people around the world.