Oh yeah, this is true; and you should take your pills before watching:

Here’s my friend Karidder234’s description:

These two rare tracks with Artie Shaw & His Orchestra are the perfect introduction to the man and his music: “Nightmare”, Artie’s significant theme song, performed on the air on April 2, 1939; and “Sweet Sue”, but the not-so-famous version from November 4, 1939.

I’ve of course transferred both tracks from two LP’s (old vinyl discs).

Now, which cover will win? I hope it’s the yellow one. (It *is* the yellow one; and so, my little channel design gimmick will work out splendidly once again.)

“Nightmare” can be found on JAZZ GUILD 1007, Vol. 4, ‘Melody And Madness’ (which was the perfectly fitting title of the weekly radio program where Artie performed in the fall of 1938); “Sweet Sue” appeared on my beloved Hindsight label, HSR-176, Vol. 5.

Both tracks can be found on various CD’s, but I would recommend to go for the vinyl whenever possible (Blog owner’s note: How odd, this could have been said by me).

Solos are by the leader himself, Artie Shaw on clarinet, and some shorter contributions at “Sweet Sue” are by Georgie Auld on tenorsax, and Bernie Privin on trumpet.

Bob Kitsis can be heard on piano, and Buddy Rich is tom-tomming, and propelling the band forward on both tracks with his inimitable drive, and enthusiasm. All the clearly audible, inspiring shouts are coming from him.

This time it will be fun to watch the film on the full screen ’cause I’ve added some visual effects instead of just showing stills of the covers.

Clicketty-cklicketty-click on it!

— I wanna add:

He didn’t know it then, but Artie was one of the very first who played in the jazz style, labeled as “modal” in the 1960’s; he more or less improvised only on one, or two chords, which is “modal”.

His clarinet sound, especially at this very track, is hypnotic; Artie’s imagination was very strong here. The tone is so direct, it almost hurts.

— More (inspired by Mr. HS’s remark at BBT): I think it’s a beautiful, though very spicy clarinet improvisation, and it worked very well as Artie’s theme.

No other among the big bands had such a significant radio theme, except for Glenn Miller, whose “Moonlight Serenade” can be called the major-parallel to Artie’s minor mood.

“Moonlight Serenade” is in E-flat major, which is a very warm key; B flat instrumentalists – also pianists – love to play in this very key; whereas A minor (the tonal parallel, the adjunct key to C major) could be named E-flat major’s mad little (diminished) brother; at least in Artie’s version of the night.

This entry was posted in Artie Shaw, Bernie Privin, Buddy Rich, CD review, Etymology, Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. buioomega says:

    That clarinet is plain black magic. I can well imagine how the sound was piercing the smoke-filled air.

  2. Hopefully Artie wasn’t married to that green-faced hag LOL

  3. Marc says:

    Thank you for the great post on Mistah Shaw.

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