Although Hermann Göring was Adolph Hitler's second in command in Nazi Germany, the commander of the Luftwaffe and a World War I ace, it was easy to dismiss the dumpy, pompous leader with numerous rows of medals on his chest as a drug-addicted, overconfident fool. Göring was greatly surprised when he drove himself to surrender to Allied troops at the end of the war, thinking he would be treated as a prisoner of war and not realizing he was sought as a war criminal.
Göring was a known lover of opera but, like more than a few Nazi officers, he had a secret passion for jazz, even though the American Negro was hardly considered to be worthy of comparison to the so-called Aryan "master race." Studying a bit of piano with a captured American airman who later died of tuberculosis, the Field Marshal entered a studio to record a few songs for his own amusement on reel-to-reel tape (already in use in Germany during the 1940s), which he intended to give to friends. But when the tide of the war turned against Germany, the project was set aside, never to be fully realized.
The music fell into Allied hands when the ruins of Göring's home were searched by Allied soldiers, one of whom brought back the tape. Frankly, these performances are amateurish by any standard, as Göring's sense of rhythm is erratic and he hits more than his share of clams as he tries to play various show tunes and swing favorites, which include "Ain't Misbehavin,'" "I'm Beginning to See the Light" and "I Surrender Dear." Fortunately, he rarely plays more than two or three choruses. Why anyone would want to release this music is beyond me, other than as a historical curiosity. The one untitled original was whimsically named "Spandau Blues" by the CD's producer, even though it was recorded prior to Göring's surrender.
Track Listing: Begin the Beguine; Ain't Misbehavin'; Stormy Weather; I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues; I'm Just Wild About Harry;
I'm Beginning to See the Light; I Surrender Dear; Spandau Blues.
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.