Jazz records had a meaningful place in Fred Astaire's musical life. Astaire announced his retirement in 1946, symbolically ending his career with a solo dance to “Puttin' on the Ritz” in Blue Skies. But after a year spent traveling, watching his race horse Triplicate rack up wins, and launching the Fred Astaire Dance Studios, he was ready to return to creative life, making dance routines on film. Astaire loved Lionel Hampton's “Jack the Bellboy,” an extended drum solo recorded on May 9, 1940. The postwar decline of the swing bands and the rise of bebop might have severed his connection to the ongoing history of jazz. This concluding chapter presents a portrait of Astaire as sideman, surveying select recordings made with jazz musicians that put him as both dancer and singer into thorough-going jazz contexts.
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