Artie Shaw: Jungle Drums


Jungle Drums


Artie Shaw (clarinet)


The Artie Shaw Story (Proper Box 85)

Buy Track


Artie Shaw (clarinet),

John Best, Bernie Privin, Chuck Peterson (trumpets), George Arus, Les Jenkins, Barry Rogers (trombones), Les Robinson, Hank Freeman (alto sax), Tony Pastor (tenor sax), Ronnie Perry (tenor sax), Bob Kitsis (piano), Al Avola (guitar), Sid Weiss (bass), George Wettling (drums)


Composed by Ernesto Lecuona, Carmen Lombardo, Margarita & Charles Oflynn. Arranged by Jerry Gray


Recorded: New York, December 19, 1938


Rating: 84/100 (learn more)

In the wake of archrival Benny Goodman's hit "Sing, Sing, Sing" (1937), Artie Shaw's own descent into jungle music was inevitable. "Jungle Drums" is Shaw's simulated safari for affluent whites who never strayed closer to the jungle than midtown Manhattan traffic. Bandleaders, in presenting jungle jazz, resembled corporate executives rationalizing environmental pollution because it's profitable. As dance music, "Jungle Drums" seems innocuous enough. But turning jazz into a 1930s Theme Park where the privileged class could reinforce their presumed racial superiority was as socially irresponsible as encouraging children to smoke. "Jungle Drums" should've been titled "Shame, Shame, Shame."

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz


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