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Various: The International Allstars Play Benny Goodman, Volume Two

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This is the other shoe dropping on the International Allstars tribute to Benny Goodman and the various small groups he headed. This album comes from the same live concert in Hamburg that produced Volume 1 released in 2000. Obviously there was enough for two CDs and why they weren't packaged as a 2 CD set is puzzling. But no one can point the finger at Nagel Heyer claiming that they were trying to get 2 CDs where one would suffice. This disc provides a generous 66 minutes of music. Ken Peplowski "plays" Goodman for the most part. Two other clarinet masters, Antti Sarpila and Allen Vaché, join in on three tracks forming a three member Clarinet Summit. Peplowski and company are not out to imitate Goodman and his various groups and pay tribute in their way. But the debt to Goodman and company comes through loud and clear. Also, not every tune on the play list was recorded by Goodman, such as "Jingles" (the James P. Johnson version, not Wes Montgomery's ). This is Mark Shanes' tune and he shines by playing good old fashioned stride piano that will take your breath away.

All the tracks merit and will keep your attention. But one especially stands out and that's Peplowski playing middle range clarinet with Alden on guitar for as lovely a rendition of "Everything I Love" extant. But it's the toe tapping up tempo material that monopolizes this album and given Goodman's affection for swing (after all, he was "King", wasn't he?}, it's appropriate that it should. This is a rousing session of live jazz and is recommended.


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