Shilkret Session – Exquisite

Nathaniel Shilkret

Nathaniel Shilkret

Over the last year we’ve showcased dozens of artists who recorded at Muzak in the ‘30s and ‘40s .  A few weeks back one of our readers, Joe Adams, asked me to look into the Muzak recordings of Nathaniel Shilkret.  Joe was a huge fan of Muzak in the ‘40s, and he knew our library inside and out.  So when he mentioned that our recordings of Shilkret were some of the best he’d ever heard, I got excited to check them out myself.  The very next day I found a few of the tracks and listened.  Oh my!

On July 8, 1940, Nathaniel Shilkret and his orchestra graced Muzak’s Manhattan studio to record one of the cleanest, most technically exquisite sessions we’ve heard to date. Through the years Nathaniel Shilkret’s orchestra members had included Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Glenn Miller, George Gershwin and Andrés Segovia.  In other words, Nathaniel was a magnet for some of the best musicians the industry has ever seen.

At the time of this Muzak recording session Shilkret was also working with MGM on a series of movie scores – one busy guy.  Enjoy this wonderful rendition of Nathaniel Shilkret and his Orchestra’s “Minute Waltz”, from Muzak’s transcription archives.

Contributed by Bruce McKagan, Muzak Archives Director

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Tagged as: 40s music, Archives, Muzak Archives, Nathaniel Shilkret, Old Music


  1. Nathaniel or Nat Shilkret was also a great song writer having written some hits in the late 20s and early 30s.
    Among them are “Jeanine I Dream of Lilak Time”, “The Lonesome Road” (in the style of a Negro spiritual) and “Just a Memory” I am afraid that Nat’s Muzak recording of the last was released with a trumpeter hitting a clinker at the end. My favorite, sort of a semi-classical polka, had a title that should bring a smile if not a laugh,, “The Jolly Peter”.

  2. Having been a bandleader myself, stories of great musicians recording
    for Muzak are endlessly fascinatiing, which leads to a question, Has Muzak
    considered releasing or licensing some of the early cuts to be sold to the
    public on CD’s or other media? One would think that if the tracks are
    old enough, they would not in any sense be competitive with todays
    Muzak selections offered to subscribers now. Can someone address
    this question? Thanks!

  3. Hi Peter – We have been in discussions about releasing some of our archive recordings, that we hope to make available next year (2012). We’re still in negotiations. We also are preparing some exciting announcements about our archives coming this February. Stay tuned…. and thanks for your kind words. Feel free to email me or contact Muzak and ask for me. I’d love to discuss our sessions with you more. Bruce McKagan

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