Benny Goodman: The Essential & With Benny in Mind

Ken Dryden By

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Benny Goodman
The Essential Benny Goodman

Allan Vaché
With Benny in Mind

By the time of his death in 1987, clarinetist Benny Goodman was firmly entrenched in many minds as the "King of Swing , with countless recordings made throughout a career that lasted over a half-century. A recent anthology highlights 40 songs from his recordings for just two labels. The other CD is by a currently active clarinetist who fell under the Goodman spell, at least in part, as a young musician.

Now that Columbia and Bluebird/RCA masters are under one roof at Sony BMG, the Legacy reissue series has a wealth of material available from which to to draw in putting together a Benny Goodman compilation. This two-disc set is up to the challenge, choosing ten tracks each from four distinctive segments of his discography. The first ten include arrangements from the early days of big bands. George Bassman's scoring of "Let's Dance not only became Goodman's theme song but also remained in his band book until his death. Other arrangers, especially the highly important Fletcher Henderson ("King Porter Stomp ), Jimmy Mundy ("Sing, Sing, Sing ) and Edgar Sampson (the latter represented by a previously unissued take of "Don't Be That Way ) and others are represented as well. The next ten tracks include adaptations of Broadway songs and the music of Tin Pan Alley, a number of which are vocal features for Mildred Bailey, Helen Ward, Martha Tilton or Helen Forrest.

The second disc initially focuses on small groups, including tracks with Teddy Wilson, Gene Krupa and the dynamic Lionel Hampton, which includes a previously unreleased take of "Moonglow . The addition of guitarist Charlie Christian kept Goodman from getting stale, along with his hiring of Duke Ellington's star trumpeter Cootie Williams. The last ten selections include a mix of live recordings and air-checks, highlighted by two selections from Goodman's landmark 1938 Carnegie Hall concert. Rob Bamberger's liner notes provide more of a general background of Goodman's activities at the time rather than a track-by-track analysis. While many Goodman collectors are likely to own most of these performances, this excellent survey of his music from 1934-1946 is the perfect choice for anyone wanting a sampling of his work.

It is fitting that Allan Vaché recorded this tribute to Benny Goodman. While a member of the Jim Cullum Jazz Band, he had an opportunity to play alongside the legendary clarinetist. Vaché has recorded extensively as a leader, as well as being a regular on the jazz party circuit; pianist John Sheridan, bassist Phil Flanigan and drummer Ed Metz, Jr. are very familiar to Vaché, having worked many of the same parties and played together in various combinations on other record dates. Guitarist Vincent Carrao is a long-time collaborator with the leader, while newcomer Christian Tamburr proves himself a promising young vibraphonist. On With Benny in Mind, Vaché and his band interpret 14 songs drawn from the bandleader's vast repertoire, with the material primarily coming from the '30s-40s. No attempt is made to replicate the original recordings — though they aren't wildly different — and in spots, Vaché uses a bit more vibrato than one would expect in a Goodman recording. While songs like "Stompin' at the Savoy , "Body and Soul , "Seven Come Eleven and "Flyin' Home are still regularly performed today, it is nice to hear the revival of tunes like "Slipped Disc and "Nagasaki .

Tracks and Personnel

The Essential Benny Goodman

Tracks: Let's Dance; Bugle Call Rag; King Porter Stomp; Don't Be That Way; When Buddha Smiles; Sing, Sing, Sing; Big John's Special; Get Happy; Superman; Oh! Baby; Goody, Goody; There's a Small Hotel; You Turned the Tables On Me; Can't Teach My Old Heart New Tricks; This Can't Be Love; I Thought About You; It Never Entered My Mind; Taking a Chance On Love; Let's Do It; How Long Has This Been Going On?; After You've Gone; Running Wild; The Man I Love ;The World Is Waiting For the Sunrise; Rachel's Ridin' High; Sunny Disposish; Body and Soul; Sweet Leilani; Roll 'Em; Life Goes To a Party; Avalon; Swingtime In the Rockies; My Gal Sal; Stealin' Apples.

Personnel: Benny Goodman: clarinet; Georgie Auld: tenor sax; Mildred Bailey: vocals; Red Ballard: trombone; Danny Bank: baritone sax; Count Basie: piano; Bus Bassey: tenor sax; George Bassman: arranger; Louie Bellson: drums; George Berg: tenor sax; Bunny Berigan: trumpet; Noni Bernardi: alto sax; Artie Bernstein: bass; John McClanian Best, Jr.: trumpet; Gus Bivona: alto sax; Jimmy Blake: trumpet; Vernon Brown: trombone; Mike Bryan: guitar; Billy Butterfield: trumpet; Russ Case: trumpet; Charlie Castaldo; trombone; Lee Castle: trumpet; Charlie Christian: electric guitar; Ralph Collier: drums; Addison Collins: French horn; Arnold Covey: guitar; Cutty Cutshall: trombone; Alvin Davis: trumpet; Bill DePew alto sax; Clark Dick: tenor sax; Ziggy Elman: trumpet; Buff Estes: alto sax; Nick Fatool: drums; Morey Feld: drums; Alec Fila: trumpet; Helen Forrest: vocals; Frank Froeba: piano; Harry Geller: trumpet; Chuck Gentry: baritone sax; Gish Gilbertson: tenor sax; Harry Goodman: bass; Irving Goodman: trumpet; Gordon Griffin: trumpet; Johnny Guarnieri: piano; Bobby Guyer: trumpet; Lionel Hampton: vibraphone; Herbie Haymer: tenor sax; Benny Heller: guitar; Fletcher Henderson: piano, arranger; Horace Henderson: arranger; Jack Henderson: tenor sax; Harry Jaeger: drums; Harry James: trumpet; Jerry Jerome: tenor sax; Ben Kantor; alto sax; Nate Kazebier: trumpet; Deane Kincaide: arranger; Manny Klein: trumpet; George Koenig: alto sax; Gene Krupa: drums; Jack Lacey: trombone; Peggy Lee: vocals; Bernie Leighton: piano; Johnny Martel: trumpet; Dave Matthews: alto sax; Jimmy Maxwell: trumpet; Murray McEachern: trombone; Lou McGarity: trombone; Miff Mole: trombone; Toots Mondello: alto sax; Tom Morgan: guitar; Jimmy Mundy: arranger; Spud Murphy: arranger: Vido Musso: tenor sax; Ralph Muzillo: trumpet; Clint Neagley: alto sax; Jerry Neary: trumpet; Bernie Pivin: trumpet; Mel Powell: piano, arranger; John Prager: alto sax; Allan Reuss: guitar; Arthur Rollini: tenor sax; Eddie Rosa: alto sax; Joe Rushton: bass sax; Babe Russin: tenor sax; Edgar Sampson: arranger; Eddie Sauter: arranger; Hymie Schertzer: alto sax; Julie Schwartz: alto sax; Sammy Shapiro: trumpet; Bill Shine: alto sax; Bob Snyder: alto sax; Barney Spieler: bass; Jess Stacy: piano; Slam Stewart: bass; Cliff Strickland: tenor sax; Bob Taylor: tenor sax; Claude Thornhill: piano; Martha Tilton: vocals; Dave Tough: drums; George Van Eps: guitar; Ted Vesely: trombone; Helen Ward: vocals; Hank Wayland: bass; Sam Weiss; drums; Sid Weiss; bass; George Wettling; drums; Cootie Williams: trumpet; Teddy Wilson: piano.

With Benny in Mind

Tracks: Avalon; Moonglow; Flyin' Home; Soft Winds; Air Mail Special; Stompin' at the Savoy; Seven Come Eleven; Body and Soul; Slipped Disc; A Smo-o-o-oth One; Nagasaki; Memories of You; The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise; Goodbye.

Personnel: Allan Vache: clarinet; John Sheridan: piano; Christian Tamburr: vibes; Vincent Corrao: guitar; Phil Flanigan: bass; Ed Metz, Jr.: drums.

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