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Artie Shaw : The Life and Times of a Jazz Legend

We hope you enjoy this brief biographic sketch of Artie Shaw, King of the Clarinet and Big Band Leader during the Swing Era of the 1930’s and 1940’s. 

Click here to view a well rounded timeline of Artie Shaws life.

Born 1910 in New York City

Arthur Arshawsky (aka Artie Shaw) was the son of Harry Arshawsky and Sarah Strauss. His mother was originally from Austria, and his father was originally from Russia. 

They lived in a predominately Jewish neighborhood on the lower East Side until Artie reached the age of seven when the family moved to New Haven, Connecticut.

Asked why he put down the clarinet for good at the peak of his music career in 1954, Shaw said, “I’d led nine different orchestras by then. I had to stop and find out who I was…I learned that I’m not Artie Shaw. I was able to throw out the thing I was. Artie Shaw, the clarinet player who married all those chicks. People ask what those women saw in me. Let’s face it, I wasn’t a bad-looking stud. But that’s not it. It’s the music; it’s standing up there under the lights. A lot of women just flip; looks have nothing to do with it. You call Mick Jagger good-looking?”
*NY Times Aug. 18, 1994, By Frank J. Prial

Artie Shaw died died 2004 in Thousand Oaks, California at the age of 94 from complications of diabetes.

His final resting place is Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park in Westlake Village, California : PLOT Tranquility Estate Gardens, near plot marker #7.

Artie Shaw was one of the most popular jazz musicians and Big Band Leaders during the Swing Era of the late 1930s and early 1940s.