He took up the violin at age 7, and at 16, heard recordings of Joe Venuti, whose style he began to emulate. He worked on cruise ships with artists such as Josephine Baker and Fats Waller and later was greatly influenced by Stuff Smith. He played and recorded with many jazz greats, including Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli, Lionel Hampton, and Toots Thielemans. Was a member of a popular swing trio with Danish guitarist Ulrik Neumann and Swedish singer Alice Babs, known for their scat singing and Music Hall-style entertainment.
Lew Shaw started writing about music as the publicist for the famous Berkshire Music Barn in the 1960s. He joined the West Coast Rag almost thirty years ago and has been a guiding light to this paper through the two name changes since then as we became The Syncopated Times. 47 of his profiles are collected in Jazz Beat: Notes on Classic Jazz. Volume two, containing profiles from 2013-2016 will be available on Amazon soon. He taps his extensive network of connections and friends throughout the traditional jazz world to bring us his Jazz Jottings column every month.