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Artie Shaw: Pied Piper

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On a Sunday afternoon in July 1946, CBS's Columbia Workshop broadcast The Pied Piper of Hamelin, featuring a story adaptation and music by Artie Shaw. The national radio show broadcast from Columbia Square in Hollywood was aimed at young kids home from school. Weeks later, Shaw's label, Musicraft, brought together Shaw and the broadcast's ensemble to re-tell the story on three 78s, which were released as an album that fall as a holiday item.

The Musicraft recording session was sandwiched between Shaw's Get Out of Town (June) and For You, For Me, For Evermore (August) dates with Mel Torme. Interestingly, Shaw didn't play much on the six Pied Piper sides—they were devoted largely to narration of the tale about the enterprising piper and his musical influence over Hamelin's vermin. But Shaw did play a Pied Piper Theme with his Gramercy Five quintet as well as some solo clarinet work and led his large orchestra through original incidental music.

Here's how the three 78s stacked up (interesting sequence of sides):

Record #1

Side 1—The Pied Piper of Hamelin (Story adaptation and original music by Artie Shaw) Artie Shaw and his Orchestra
    Narrated by Harry Von Zell
    Arthur Q. Bryan- Mayor
    Edwin Max- Pied Piper

Side 6—The Pied Piper of Hamelin (Story adaptation and original music by Artie Shaw) Artie Shaw and his Orchestra

Record #2

Side 2—The Pied Piper of Hamelin (Story adaptation and original music by Artie Shaw) Artie Shaw and his Orchestra
    Narrated by Harry Von Zell
    Arthur Q. Bryan- Mayor
    Edwin Max- Pied Piper

Side 5—The Pied Piper of Hamelin (Story adaptation and original music by Artie Shaw) Artie Shaw and his Orchestra
    Narrated by Harry Von Zell
    Arthur Q. Bryan- Mayor
    Edwin Max- Pied Piper

Record #3

Side 3—The Pied Piper of Hamelin (Story adaptation and original music by Artie Shaw) Artie Shaw and his Orchestra (5631)
    Narrated by Harry Von Zell
    Arthur Q. Bryan- Mayor
    Edwin Max- Pied Piper

Side 4—The Pied Piper of Hamelin (Story adaptation and original music by Artie Shaw) Artie Shaw and his Orchestra
    Narrated by Harry Von Zell
    Arthur Q. Bryan- Mayor
    Edwin Max- Pied Piper

Here's the Gramercy Five recording of The Pied Piper Theme in 1949, featuring Don Fagerquist (tp), Artie Shaw (cl), Gil Barrios (p), Jimmy Raney (g), Dick Nivison (b) and Irv Kluger (d)...



And here's the 1954 version with the new Gramercy Five, featuring Artie Shaw (cl), Joe Roland (vib), Tal Farlowe (g), Hank Jones (p), Tommy Potter (b) and Irv Kluger (drums).



JazzWax tracks: Artie Shaw's The Pied Piper of Hamelin album from 1946 was never released on CD. But after a bit of detective work and searches, I found a free download of all six sides edited together. Go here to Kiddie Records Weekly and scroll down four rows. On the right is the Artie Shaw album. Click on “launch stream" and download. Double click on the downloaded file and it will automatically jump into your iTunes library under “Internet Songs."

Happy Thanksgiving!

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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