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Jazz Paper

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Born in New York City, Artie Shaw would become one of the top bandleaders in the swing era. He began his musical career as a highly sought-after alto saxophone player in the New York area, and was able to benefit from the growth of radio and studio recordings. As he perfected his technical ability with various dance bands, he was still relatively unknown in the early 30's when he began to focus exclusively on the Clarinet while Swing music began to grow in popularity.

While we may carefully analyze the two pieces to satisfy our curiosity regarding musical evolution in Jazz, we should also not lose sight of the fact that these are two very enjoyable styles of music. From the lively swing orchestras inspiring large audiences to dance, to the softer Bossa Nova sound which is pleasing to hear in a relaxed setting, both have contributed to the growth of musical creativity in Jazz from the 1930's through today.

Shaw first broke through with an unusual string quartet in New York's Imperial Theater. By early 1937, Shaw had formed a conventional swing band which would eventually record "Begin the Beguine". Tormented by the pressures that came with unwanted fame, Artie Shaw disbanded his band at the height of his fame, but was able to mount a comeback with a new band the following year to record many more hit songs. Artie Shaw would go on to serve honorably in the US Navy during World War 2, but after returning in the mid-40's it became clear that the times had changed, and it was no longer economically viable to support a big swing band. He continued to play sporadically and attempt to lead new bands until discouragement led him to announce his retirement in the mid-1950's, after which he would never even play the clarinet again.

Antonio Carlos Jobim, also known by his lifelong nickname of "Tom", grew up in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. During his late teens he began to pursue an education as an Architect, but by the time he turned 20, he could not resist a powerful attraction to music so he started to play the piano in nightclubs and worked in music studios. He recorded his first record in 1954 and found fame 2 years later when he provided the score for the play "Orfeo do Carnaval". In 1958, along with the work of Brazilian Singer Joao Gilberto, Antonio Jobim launched the phenomenon known as Bossa Nova. In 1962, he gained international fame in the US when Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd performed his song, "Desafinado". Later that year, Jobim was invited along with other Brazilian artists to perform in the US as Bossa Nova grew into a very popular musical fad. Several other Jazz groups adjusted their styles, releasing many Bossa Nova songs until the trend fell from popularity in the late 1960's. Jobim continued to perform with small groups around the world to appreciative audiences until shortly before his death, securing his reputation as one of the great songwriters of Jazz music in the 20th century.

"Begin the Beguine" was recorded in July 1938 by a swing orchestra led by Artie Shaw on the clarinet as the lead soloist. His big band was composed of 3 trumpet players, 3 trombones, 2 alto saxophones, 2 tenor sax players, and a rhythm section including piano, guitar, bass, and drums. As the song begins with the clarinet solo and muted trumpets, the swing feel becomes clear to the listener. The rhythm section keeps a steady beat of 4 beats per measure throughout, and the solos are carefully defined and organized with the drums or the trumpets occasionally helping to bridge gaps between various sections of the song until the Clarinet finally leads the band to a conclusion.

"Desafinado" was recorded in February 1962 by a small jazz group of six skilled musicians. The "front men" for this recording was Stan Getz on Tenor Sax and Charlie Byrd on the guitar. A

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