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Monday, 21 November 2016

Arthur Schutt born 21 November 1902

Arthur Schutt (born Reading, Pennsylvania - November 21, 1902. Died San Francisco, California - January 28, 1965) was an American jazz pianist and arranger.
An important pianist during the 1920s, appearing on many key recordings, Arthur Schutt faded out of the spotlight during the swing era. He was taught piano by his father and started playing for silent movies when he was just 13 in 1915. It was at a movie theatre that Schutt was discovered in 1918 by bandleader Paul Specht, who quickly hired him. Schutt was with Specht for six years (including a visit to London in 1923). After that period ended, Schutt worked for Roger Wolfe Khan and Don Voorhees, and then became a busy studio musician, appearing on many jazz-influenced dates headed by Fred Rich and Nat Shilkret.

  On the platform, left to right, Tommy Dorsey, Fuzzy Farrar, Stan King, Jimmy Dorsey. In front, left to right. Eddie Lang, Al Duffy, Arthur Schutt. 
A major novelty ragtime pianist (recording eight piano solos in 1923, 1928, and 1929), Schutt worked with the Georgians (the small group taken out of Paul Specht's Orchestra) during 1922-1924, and recorded with the Charleston Chasers, Red Nichols (1926-1929 and 1931), the Dorsey Brothers' Orchestra (1928-1931), Benny Goodman, and most significantly with Frankie Trumbauer and Bix Beiderbecke in 1927. 

Schutt composed a jazz tune "Delirium" in 1927, which was widely recorded and enjoyed a fair amount of popularity. Schutt's unusual chord voicings and percussive solos were a standout during the era, although they ended up not becoming all that influential. He headed groups for 18 selections that were recorded during 1929-1930, and stayed busy in the studios as a sideman (cutting two final piano solos in 1934). After that period, Schutt maintained a lower profile, occasionally leading his own band and, in 1939, playing for a short while with Bud Freeman.
In 1934, Schutt co-wrote "Georgia Jubilee" with Benny Goodman which, while a hit, was also recorded by Isham Jones's band. Schutt also composed the ragtime "piano novelty" piece "Bluin' the Black Keys", considered one of the most difficult traditional, period rags ever written. Also during that year Arthur and his wife had moved to Hollywood where Arthur spent much of the next two and a half decades working in recording studios.
Even though he was sought out often for his solid work, he was rarely featured in such session. In 1939 he spent a few months playing with Bud Freeman's group. He was on the music staff doing and some film soundtrack work with MGM from 1934 to 1949, but rarely in the jazz idiom where he had showed so much promise. There are some exceptions, however. In 1936 Arthur did some live radio broadcasts of piano duets with Peggy Keenan.

Arthur Schutt with Peggy Keenan in 1936.
While Schutt was rarely if ever directly involved in films during his tenure in Los Angeles, he finally did make it into one somehow. In the summer of 1959 the movie The Five Pennies was released from the independent company Dena Productions. Starring Danny Kaye as the band's leader Red Nichols and Louis Armstrong as himself, jazz pianist and composer Bobby Troup (Route 66) played the part of Schutt on screen. It was difficult to determine if Arthur played for any of the soundtrack, but he may have already left town by that time.
The Schutts moved to San Francisco sometime in the late 1950s, home to some of the great jazz revival bands of that time. There Arthur worked literally until the day he died for a lunch crowd in the financial district. Some July 1961 notices in the Los Angeles Times show him playing intermissions at Jim's Roaring 20s, a Los Angeles jazz club.
A few final recordings of Schutt's solo work were made in the early 1960s at private parties, largely of 1920s novelties and standards. Arthur Schutt died at age 62 after a long illness. He had been cared for in the end by Dr. Benny Zeitlin, who was also a jazz pianist in the 1920s and 1930s. The music union honoured Arthur by having a string quartet play at his funeral which sadly only a few close friends turned up for.
 (Info edited mainly from with some info from All Music & Wikipedia)

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