The Chant


Artie Shaw and his Orchestra : The Chant

Originally titled ‘Ubangi’, ‘The Chant’ is Artie Shaw’s very bluesy version of ‘St. James Infirmary Blues’ with a trumpet solo by “Hot Lips” Page. The origin of ‘St. James Infirmary Blues’ has never been satisfactorily determined.  Sometimes ‘St. James Infirmary Blues’ was credited to a composer known as Joe Primrose, who would later claim the rights to the song. Many trace the song overseas to a 19th century English ballad titled ‘The Unfortunate Rake’.  Notable recordings of the song have been made by Louis Armstrong and Cab Calloway who sang the song in ‘Betty Boop in Snow White’, a 1933 cartoon by Max Fleisher. Others have said that ‘The Chant’ is the best example of a song influenced by ‘Klezmer music’ that Shaw wrote. Klezmer music being a traditional, secular Jewish style of dance music often played at weddings and other joyous celebrations. 

Side A: St. James Infirmary Blues, Part I
Side B: St. James Infirmary Blues, Part 2

Style:  Jazz

Date Recorded: March 12, 1939

Composer: Artie Shaw





Name: Instrumental

Artie Shaw and his Orchestra

  • Artie Shaw, clarinet, director
  • John Best, first trumpet
  • Chuck Peterson and Bernie Privin, trumpets
  • George Arus, first trombone
  • Les Jenkins and Harry Rodgers, trombones
  • Les Robinson, first alto saxophone
  • Hank Freeman, alto saxophone
  • Tony Pastor and Georgie Auld, tenor saxophones
  • Bob Kitsis, piano
  • Al Avola, guitar
  • Sid Weiss, bass
  • Buddy Rich, drums



Label: Victor 27895-A

St. James Infirmary Blues Part 1 - Artie Shaw and his Orchestra

Artie Shaw - The Chant (St. James Infirmary)

Artie Shaw- St. James Infirmary Blues - Betty Boop

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