Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Jazz Kingwho Abdicated; His Roster of Wives Was as Famous as His Band. despite the Acclaim, Artie Shaw, Who Has Died at the Age of 94, Never Understood Why People Wanted to Dance to His Music

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Jazz Kingwho Abdicated; His Roster of Wives Was as Famous as His Band. despite the Acclaim, Artie Shaw, Who Has Died at the Age of 94, Never Understood Why People Wanted to Dance to His Music

Article excerpt

Byline: JACK MASSARIK

ARTIE Shaw, who died today at his California home at 94, was a jazz star in the most glamorous Hollywood mould. Suave, intelligent and goodlooking, he lived his life in the fast lane, rising from poverty to become the best-paid clarinettist in the business, earning a five-figure weekly salary in the Thirties - sums worth double today - and rivalling Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller in an age when jazz dominated the popular-music charts.

He led a succession of all-star orchestras and turned out a string of hits - notably Begin the Beguine, Frenesi and Stardust - which were not only commercially successful but also admired from an artistic viewpoint.

Allowing for changes in fashion, many experts rate him among the finest clarinettists of all time. An early and vociferous opponent of racism, he toured with singer Billie Holiday, insisting that she be given the same hotel and restaurant facilities as his white musicians, a stand which took some courage in the openly segregated southern states.

Women found him fascinating and the feeling was mutual. Shaw married six times, always favouring smart, glamorous women. His wives included Kathleen Winsor, author of the sexy 1944 best-seller Forever Amber, and three of the most beautiful film stars of the day, Ava Gardner, Lana Turner and Evelyn Keyes.

Not the least interesting thing about him was his love-hate relationship with music. He announced his retirement from the business several times, even during periods of his greatest success, to become a writer.

Seeking seclusion, he went off to Mexico and later Spain but, apart from producing his autobiography, The Trouble With Cinderella (which oddly barely touched on his many marriages and long musical career), his literary ambitions remained unfulfilled. Instead he kept returning to jazz with newer and younger musicians in his bands, including two rising stars with egos to match his own, singer Mel Torme and drummer Buddy Rich. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.