Magazine article IAJRC Journal

Dr. Ian Crosbie's Sidemen Correspondence

Magazine article IAJRC Journal

Dr. Ian Crosbie's Sidemen Correspondence

Article excerpt

Artie Shaw & His Orchestra - Part 3

The goal of this column is to draw upon the research of Dr. Ian Crosbie who corresponded with swing era musicians during the late 1960s through the 1970s. Ian's method was to compile a list of musicians from a given band. He would then prepare a questionnaire specifically tailored to the band under question. Each musician was then sent the questionnaire for their comments. Dozens of musicians were contacted, covering 28 bands from Charlie Barnet to Bob Zurke. The questionnaires generally asked for background information, band personnel, discographical information, comments about fellow musicians, and who took the solos.

Those returned, along with many personal letters, were placed together in two large binders which were given to Tony Adkins by Ian's wife. Tony, in turn, gave them to me. Ian wrote articles for Jazz Journal, Jazz Monthly, Coda, as well as CD liner notes. Undoubtedly, he used these interviews for background information. But it is not known how much was used. As a consequence, his research will be reproduced in the IAJRC Journal.

The letters and questionnaires are presented as written with little editing. A certain amount was necessary for clarity. For example, some words were added by me and these appear in brackets. Any parentheses is from the original documents. In some cases, repetitive sections were deleted.

This is the third installment of the Artie Shaw Orchestra. It includes three violinists with the band: Alex Beller, Leonard Atkins, and Truman Boardman.

Alex Beller, violin - returned a handwritten, undated questionnaire.

Born in Chicago, Ill. - Played in theatres in Chicago, joined Ben Pollack in New York (1929). Benny Goodman, Jack Teagarden, Jimmy McPartland and other goodies were in the band.

Joined Artie Shaw 1939 - Wanted to join him. Worked on "Second Chorus" later.

Artie didn't want them [the strings] to swing. Wanted them mostly for color and beauty.

Enjoyed the [long] engagement [at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.] We would fly to Los Angeles once every week to play the Burns and Allen radio show.

[The dancers]...loved the band.

Don't remember [the leader of the string section.] [There was] no separate rehearsing.

The strings didn't play [on requests from Artie's old band book.] The original sound was more fitting.

I think Lennie [Hayton] did [most of the new charts].

The band was through with Burns and Allen in L.A. A few of us went with Artie to New York. He rebuilt the band there.

[My outstanding memory of that band was] the pleasure of being in it.

[After the band broke up,] I remained in New York. I rounded up a good string section and joined Tommy Dorsey. Frank Sinatra and the Pied Pipers were in the band.

No, [I did not get a call from Artie when he organized his new band, because] I was busy.

I agree [that this was the greatest band of Artie's career.]

Played all kinds of dates. Don't know about cancelled dates [in the South because of Lips Page.] Could be true.

The whole band contributed [to the swing of the band.]

Hot Lips Page - Nice guy. Always smiling. Sorry he's gone.

Max Kaminsky - Quiet. Did his job.

Lee Castaldo [Castle] - Played good.

George Auld - One of the best.

Johnny Guarnieri - Tremendous talent.

Jack Jenny - Can't say enough. Was a trend setter.

Dave Tough - strong beat. Would feed a band like Ben Pollack did. Didn't play solos when others were playing solos.

[My outstanding memory of the band.] It (N. Y.) was better than the L.A. band. And always a pleasure.

The band broke up early in 1942. Artie just quit the business. Later, joined the Navy.

Leonard Atkins, violin - returned a hand printed, undated questionnaire.

Born - Union City, N.J. 6/16/14. Private violin study with Mr. Eddy Brown - concurrently, studies at Columbia and new York Universities (A. …

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