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Arvell Shaw: Interview 1

Interview One: A Very Lucky Man

Three extracts from Ken Burns' interviews with the jazz double-bassists Arvell Shaw discuss his career. 


Source: Jazz Professional

Photograph: Dennis J. Williams

Interview Text or Transcript

I'm very lucky man because I had a chance in my lifetime to play with a man that I admired, one of my heroes, and that's Louis Armstrong. When I was a young kid, the first time I saw him was when he came to the Comet Theater in St. Louis. In those days St. Louis was a completely segregated city—this is before the Second World War and they had this black theatre out in the black neighbourhood they called The Comet, where they used to bring all the big black bands and Louis brought his band to play. My father took me to hear him—I must have been about 8 or 9 years old. I'd heard a few records of Louis, but when he walked out on that stage and started playing an electric shock went up my spine. My father said, "I never seen you react like that to anything."

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