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Arvell Shaw Dies

Arvell Shaw, a bassist who played with Louis Armstrong for 25 years, died Dec. 5 at his home in Roosevelt, N.Y of a heart attack. He was 79.

Born in St. Louis, in 1923, Shaw began his musical education on brass instruments, playing both the tuba and trombone in high school. In order to play with Mississippi riverboat pianist Fate Marable, Shaw switched to double bass at 19. After keeping time in Navy bands during World War II, Shaw was called into Louis Armstrong’s Orchestra as a temporary substitute for the big band’s regular bassist in 1945. Armstrong kept Shaw in the orchestra until it disbanded in 1947, and then asked the bassist to join his All Star band. Arguably the finest bassist to play with the All Stars, Shaw was an intermittent member until Armstrong died in 1971.

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