Arthur Schutt

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 theater 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, Nat Shilkret, and others. 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'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 the '40s and '50s, Schutt worked in Hollywood as a studio musician, forgotten by the jazz world except by collectors of '20s records who probably did not realize that he was still active. ~ Scott Yanow

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