Throughout his career, Shaw had a habit of forming bands, developing them according to his immediate aspirations, make a series of records and, almost just as quickly, disband them, as if his fundamental task of the moment was completed or perhaps he just got bored with what was becoming a routine. Either way, he generally did not stick around long enough to reap their success by touring and playing the band's hits for audiences who were more than eager to see and hear him and his band. Following the breakup of what was already his second band in 1939, he rarely toured at all and, if he did, his personal appearances were usually limited to long-term engagements in a single venue or bookings that did not require much traveling, unlike many bands of the era that traveled great distances doing seemingly endless strings of one-night engagements. It should be noted that apart from his interest in music, Shaw had a tremendous intellect and almost insatiable thirst for intellectual knowledge and literature. During his self-imposed "sabbaticals" from the music business, his interests included studying advanced mathematics, as cited in Karl Sabbagh's The Riemann Hypothesis. At the height of his success, Shaw's first interregnum, was met with disbelief by booking agents. They predicted Shaw would not only be abandoning a million-dollar enterprise, but that nightclub and theater owners would sue him for breach of contract. Shaw's offhand response was, "Tell 'em I'm insane. A nice, young American boy walking away from a million dollars, wouldn't you call that insane?" (As told to Tony Palmer in an interview for the "All You Need Is Love" TV documentary on the history of popular music.)

posted by francopoli: 362 days ago