I’ve wanted to write this post for a long time now – since I before began this blog, to tell the truth. Troubled is my all-time favourite swing track, and has been since the moment I first heard it. The problem is that I really can’t explain why, and I honestly doubt my own ability to do it justice. It features Frankie Trumbauer, Bunny Berigan, Artie Shaw (on both alto sax and clarinet), Glenn Miller, Roy Bargy, Artie Bernstein, and Johnny Williams – so to say it has an all-star lineup is something of an understatement.
Fortunately, I don’t have to do it justice, as Tom Nolan has done that for me, so I’m going to take the tried and tested easy route of using his words.
‘Troubled’ was an intricate line, graceful but jittery, done in a spare and clever arrangement (maybe by Miller). Trumbauer and Berigan were heard in brief solos; then Shaw came in on alto sax for a subtle, forceful eight bars. Frankie took a half-chorus C-melody solo full of his leaping, lyrical rumination. Then Art returned—on clarinet, with sixteen bars of reined-in ecstasy, gleeful as an imp dancing on a grave. The ensemble played a brief passage before Berigan took off on a fiery solo as Williams kicked things along with an urgent whomp on each fourth beat. The whole ensemble returned for the final ride-out, with Shaw’s euphoric clarinet, soaring above like the wrath and love of God. Tension and release, drama and catharsis, an unforgettable experience in under three minutes.
From: Three Chords for Beauty’s Sake: The Life of Artie Shaw, by Tom Nolan
Crank up the volume for this one.