Search This Blog

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Benny Goodman....some Trio, Quartet, and Sextet recordings.......

The game changer:

Benny Goodman....some Trio, Quartet, and Sextet recordings.....

Goodman is  responsible for a significant step in racial integration  in America. In the early 1930s, black and white jazz musicians could not play together in most clubs or concerts. In the Southern states, racial segregation was enforced by the Jim Crow laws. Benny Goodman broke with tradition by hiring Teddy Wilson to play with him and drummer Gene Krupa in the Benny Goodman Trio. In 1936, he added Lionel Hampton on vibes to form the Benny Goodman Quartet; in 1939 he added pioneering jazz guitarist Charlie Christian  to his band and small ensembles, who played with him until his death from tuberculosis less than three years later. This integration in music happened ten years before Jackie Robinson became the first black American to enter Major League Baseball. "[Goodman's] popularity was such that he could remain financially viable without touring the South, where he would have been subject to arrest for violating Jim Crow laws." According to Jazz by Ken Burns, when someone asked him why he "played with that nigger" (referring to Teddy Wilson), Goodman replied, "I'll knock you out if you use that word around me again".

"As far as I'm concerned, what he did in those days—and they were hard days, in 1937—made it possible for Negroes to have their chance in baseball and other fields."
—Lionel Hampton on Benny Goodman

From :

In July 1935, after playing together in a jam session, Goodman asked Teddy Wilson to record with Krupa and himself. that summer, as the Benny Goodman Trio, they recorded four classic sides of jazz chamber music. Goodman's solo on After You've Gone from that session is an example of his mature style — his flawless playing utilizes almost the complete range of the instrument, and his disciplined explorations of the harmony and fondness for the blue thirds reveals the technical mastery and controlled expression that formed the essence of his art.

After the conclusion of the Let's Dance series in May 1935 and a disappointing reception at an engagement at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York, Goodman's band embarked on its first tour under the auspices of Willard Alexander and the Music Corporation of America. The trip culminated in the now historic performance on August 21 before a capacity crowd at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles, which was broadcast nationwide to great critical and popular acclaim, and is often cited as the beginning of the swing era. Later that year, while appearing at the Congress Hotel in Chicago, Goodman began a series of important early jazz concerts in America. For the last of these, Easter Sunday 1936, he brought in Wilson from New York.

In August 1936, the Benny Goodman Trio became a quartet with the addition of Lionel Hampton. The group made its first recording, Moonglow, on August 21. In 1936-9, Goodman's band reached the peak of its success. It began with a series of CBS broadcasts, The Camel Caravan, which continued for more than three years. They made their first films, The Big Broadcast of 1937 and Hollywood Hotel, and on March 3, 1937 began a three-week engagement at the Paramount Theater in New York.

By 1939 not only had Benny Goodman fronted one of jazz's most popular big bands, but he'd also created highly influential "chamber jazz" with his legendary trio and quartet. Once he heard the young guitar pioneer Charlie Christian, Goodman immediately expanded his small group to a sextet to accommodate him (along with bassist Artie Bernstein). Goodman's recordings with Christian remain some of the genre's most significant work, largely because of the impact of Christian's revolutionary guitar. In fact, many of these original tunes are based on Christian's own "pet licks," showing us just how logical and well constructed his improvisations are. Christian's harmonically advanced single-note solos are a precursor to bebop, but even more importantly, he establishes the guitar as an equal partner to the horn soloists. No longer relegated to rhythm work, Christian's lines are every bit as awe-inspiring as those of the leading blowers of the day. Christian is simply inventing the vocabulary of modern jazz guitar. The sextet is fleshed out by the likes of Lionel Hampton, Fletcher Henderson, Count Basie, and Cootie Williams, and Goodman, never one to be outdone by his sidemen, plays with the vibrancy and the sort of "relaxed precision" that only he was capable of. --Marc Greilsamer

I'm not always fast to admit what a huge fan of Goodman's work I am. It always used to be cooler to favour the lesser known groups. Listening through all of this reminds me just how amazing these recordings were, and are. A lot of these tunes on this list are from broadcasts. It shows just how great they were live, and not just in the studio......give 'em a listen, I think you'll enjoy it :)

Avalon 1937 (Quartet) (b'cast)
Flying home (Sextet)
Body and soul (Take 1) trio
Rose Room (Sextet)
Body and soul (take 2) trio
Who? (trio) 1937
AC-DC current no 1 (sextet)
Soft winds (sextet)
Nobody's sweetheart (trio)
Too good to be true (trio w/ Helen Ward)
AC-DC current no 2 (sextet)
Dinah (quartet) 1937
Charlie's dream (sextet)
Stompin' at the Savoy (take 1) (quartet)
Where or when (trio) (b'cast)
who? (trio) (b'cast)
Avalon (quartet) 1937 (b'cast)
Lady be good  (trio) (b'cast) 1937
Body and soul (Carnegie Hall 1938)
Flying home 2 (Sextet)
Stealin' apples (b'cast)  (quartet)
A handful of keys (b'cast) (quartet)
Body and soul 3 (trio) 1937
Dinah (quartet) (b'cast) 1937
Ding dong Daddy (b'cast) (quartet)
Everybody loves my baby (b'cast) (quartet)
Limehouse blues (b'cast) (quartet)
More than you know (b'cast) (trio) 1937
Nagasaki (b'cast) (quartet) 1937
Roses in December 1937 (b'cast) (trio)
Veini Veini 1937 (b'cast) (quartet)
Vibraphone blues 1937 (b'cast) (quartet)
Where or when  (trio) 1937 (b'cast)
Whispering in the dark 1937 (b'cast) (trio)
Yours and mine 1937 (quartet) (b'cast)
Moonglow 1936 (quartet)
Moonglow 2 1936  (quartet)
Whispering 1936 (trio)

Someday sweetheart (trio)
Til tom special (sextet)
Gone with what wind (sextet)
All my life (trio w/ Helen Ward) 1936
Oh, lady be good (trio)
Six appeal (sextet)
Moonglow 4 (1936)
Vibraphone blues (quartet) 1937
Sweet Sue-just you (quartet) 1937
Lester's dream (sextet)
My melancholy babe (quartet)
Tiger rag (take 1) (quartet)
Stompin' at the Savoy (Take 2) (quartet)
Can't help lovin' that man (b'cast) (trio) 1937
Sweet sue-just you (b'cast) 1937
Bei mir bist du schon 1937 (quartet)


  1. Geez, I think some of this stuff is locked in my genetic code cause my old man played the hell out his Goodman recordings when I was growing up. From some one who long ago gave up trying to be cool, let me say that the old man was right. These guys played the hell out of that music with passion and style.

  2. Oh, me too, fersherrr! Everytime my father broke out the scotch and soda (which was most nights, music blasted through the house. I hated it. I have a lot of the singers imprinted in my head, though. I I could tell Martha Tilton, Helen Ward, Anita O'Day, Helen O'Connell, Helen Forrest, and others apart quite early, as I recall. My father played trumpet, so his favorites were the soloists with different bands. My brother plays drums, so he was only interested if it was like Buddy Rich or Krupa. My mom always listened, but her thing is R&B....Billy Ward and the Dominoes, stuff like that. I do know that my dad thinks it's pretty cool that I do this now. I put a ton of music on a new iPod, wrapped it back up in the package, and mailed it to him a few years ago (with a charger, because he refuses to own a, and he really seems to like that. :)

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. My dad played sax and clarinet in dance bands for a while (on either edge of the war) to supplement his real income, from playing poker and betting the ponies. Later my mom came along, they had a family and he stopped playing music and got a straight job (although in his later years, he talked about getting a clarinet and playing some again). He cut back on the gambling too, but now and then he had a hot tip on a longshot... I think the bottom line reason he stopped playing was that he felt he couldn't improvise like the jazz players he admired. He told me once, "I was a reader, I could read and play anything, and arrange charts, but I couldn't play like those guys."
    He loved jazz, and he could hear a few notes on a record and tell me who played on all kinds of tracks, and he had great stories about hearing guys like Wingy Manone play the Colonial here in Toronto ("I brought him up a drink to the stage and he said to the guys, "play on, play on, I have a sponsor..."). He's gone a few years now, and I still miss him.

  5. Others played with more blues than Benny, and others played with more freedom of rhythm (Ed Hall, Peewee Russell, Barney Bigard, Jimmy Noone, Artie Shaw being four obvious examples). Also, the Big Band coudl be a bit hung up on a thunderous beat, not exactly lithe or flexible. But when he was good on his licorice horn, he was very, very good. Also, he surrounded himself with top musicians, and arrangers. Result: excellent music usually guaranteed.

    The one I am really looking for here is "Bey mir bist du shane", the smaller recording (the Carnegie Hall one is a bit oversized for me, and tends towards the triumphalist - nto that I don't think Ziggy freylekh break with Benny's reveille backing isn't great on either version!).

    I think Martha Tilton is the singer on both versions. The more intimate smaller version is magic, I think. From the Babes in the Wood figure on the clarinet with suspended vibe vamp at the beginning, to Ziggy Elman's excitable outbreak in part 2 and the suddenly quieter reprise, it's a delight. What I like most of all between these extremes of lost wonderment and exhilaration is the vocal. On the smaller scale, it's sort of mystical. The words bespeak rhapsodic worship of eternal moments, the modulation and extended phrases set against that a yearning and a bit of despair for what will never be: as if all the words in all languages are still inadequate.

    That huge swathe of different emotions is carried wonderfully in the restrained vocal, I think. And somehow it expresses much of what music is, and does. The multifarious condition of music, the human condition too.

  6. FIVE obvious examples (.... I feel like Michael Palin in the Spanish Inquisition sketch ....)

  7. Ahem ... I wasn't even talking about this version (Zig-free), which is new to me! :D

  8. I think that I might have that other version. I'll look....I have several versions, actually. I'll look.

  9. The several versions would make a good post! :o)

    Errr, not that I am trying to make work for you, or anything :--O

  10. Hi barberella, these files suffered the same dreadful destiny as the jimmie lunceford one's they got locked away by mediafire and are no longer addressable! Please, please could you re-up these files on 4shared? many thanks!

  11. Woah! I'm really digging the template/theme of this website. It's simple, yet effective.
    A lot of times it's tough to get that "perfect balance" between superb usability and appearance. I must say you have done a amazing job with this. In addition, the blog loads super quick for me on Internet explorer. Excellent Blog!

    Feel free to surf to my web site:

  12. Howdy! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering
    which blog platform are you using for this site?

    I'm getting tired of Wordpress because I've had issues with hackers and I'm looking at alternatives for another platform. I would be fantastic if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

    My page; bed and breakfast san francisco

  13. I absolutely love your blog and find nearly all of your post's to be exactly I'm looking for.
    Would you offer guest writers to write content for you personally?
    I wouldn't mind composing a post or elaborating on a number of the subjects you write in relation to here. Again, awesome blog!

    Take a look at my site;