Artie Shaw was one of the greatest clarinetists in the history of jazz. A Swing Era giant and innovator who led a succession of popular orchestras, Shaw was also a self-professed “very difficult man” who walked away from music when he was in his mid-forties, never to return.
Artie Shaw was born Arthur Arshawsky in New York City on May 23, 1910, and grew up in New Haven, Connecticut. He began learning the saxophone as a teenager. As he told an interviewer for Ken Burns’ PBS jazz project, “My father'd left home and I didn't like my life very much. I didn't like school, I didn't like anything. So it was a choice between getting a machine gun or an instrument. Luckily I found an instrument.” He was a very fast learner,... Read More