The bulk of Shaw's great sessions were recorded for independent labels (Muse & Contemporary,) ensuring them widespread critical evaluation but little audience except with the hardcore faithful. Things seemed about to change in the late '70s when Miles Davis suggested to Columbia that they record Shaw's group. They actually took his suggestion and signed Shaw. He issued a string of remarkable but low-selling records, and Columbia cut him loose after four years and four albums. They compounded the crime by deleting the records shortly after Shaw departed. Mosaic has corrected that slight with another of their marvelously produced and comprehensively notated and packaged box sets. This three-disc collection covers Shaw's Columbia sessions. While it is sad that Shaw's stay at Columbia was not more personally beneficial, it was quite musically productive.
Freddie Slack was the pianist with Jimmy Dorsey's orchestra during part of the 1930s before becoming well known for playing boogie-woogie with Will Bradley's band, most notably on the hit "Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar." In 1941 Slack went out on his own, forming a big band that soon signed with the Capitol label. His hit recording of "Cow Cow Boogie" in 1942 with singer Ella Mae Morse made him famous even though none of his other records caught on at the same level. Slack's orchestra just lasted two years and, although he had a new band during 1945-1946, many of his recordings were made with small groups.