All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


Benny Goodman: The Swing Master

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Benny Goodman, a complex man who was loved by many, disliked by others and always in command, kept his music refreshingly vibrant and honest, as befit the Swing Era’s renowned King of Swing. Benny’s groups, whether large or small, were always sharp and well-rehearsed; he wouldn’t have it any other way. A life-long perfectionist, Goodman demanded the same from those with whom he played, and surrounded himself with musicians of the highest caliber. Many of them can be heard on this anthology that surveys the period from 1939-51 (with time out for the war years from December ’41 to August ’45) via fourteen orchestral selections, seven by Goodman’s sextets and two others by his septet.

Among the well-known players whose names appear in Benny’s sextet are vibists Lionel Hampton, Red Norvo and Terry Gibbs; pianists Teddy Wilson and Mel Powell, bassists Red Callender and Slam Stewart, guitarists Charlie Christian and Johnny Smith, and drummer Nick Fatool, while the septet boasts Christian, trumpeter Cootie Williams, tenor Georgie Auld and no less than Count Basie at the keyboard. The orchestras were far from shabby either, with Williams, Harry James, Ziggy Elman, Billy Butterfield, Jimmy Maxwell, Bernie Privin and Doug Mettome numbered among the trumpeters; Jerry Jerome, Toots Mondello, Vido Musso, Hymie Schertzer, Danny Bank, Wardell Gray, Al Klink, Peanuts Hucko and Boomie Richman in the various reed sections; Vernon Brown, Lou McGarity, Cutty Cutshall, Trummy Young, Chauncey Welsch, Billy Byers and Will Bradley lending a hand on trombone, and rhythm sections that housed such standouts as Norvo; pianists Powell, Jess Stacy, Buddy Greco and Stan Freeman; bassists Stewart and Bob Haggart, and drummers Fatool, Sid Catlett, Louie Bellson and Sonny Igoe. Of course, sidemen of their stature needed wonderful music to play, and Goodman saw to that by employing some of the most talented swing arrangers of the day including Powell, Edgar Sampson, Deane Kincaide, Benny Carter, Eddie Sauter and the Hendersons, Fletcher (who arranged the last four selections for the orchestra) and Horace. Their collaborative efforts produced danceable music that always swings, as was Benny’s purpose. As I suspect that none of this material will be new to Goodman’s legions of admirers, the album is probably aimed toward those who either haven’t heard it before or would like to trade in their 78 rpm prototypes for these digitally remastered versions, cleanly transferred from the vinyl by Ted Kendall. Thus the monarchy survives; long live the King (of Swing)!

Contact: Memoir Records Ltd., P.O. Box 66, Pinner, Middlesex HA5 25A, United Kingdom. Web site: .

Track Listing: Stealin

Personnel: Benny Goodman, clarinet, leader, with various large and small groups, August 1939

Title: The Swing Master | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Memoir


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Ravensburg CD/LP/Track Review
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: March 17, 2018
Read Turbulence CD/LP/Track Review
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 17, 2018
Read Black Swan CD/LP/Track Review
Black Swan
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 17, 2018
Read Both Sides Of The Sky CD/LP/Track Review
Both Sides Of The Sky
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: March 17, 2018
Read Beethoven – Missa Solemnis CD/LP/Track Review
Beethoven – Missa Solemnis
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 17, 2018
Read Miles Davis & John Coltrane - The Final Tour: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 6 CD/LP/Track Review
Miles Davis & John Coltrane - The Final Tour: The...
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: March 16, 2018
Read "Plays Dutch Originals" CD/LP/Track Review Plays Dutch Originals
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 14, 2018
Read "The Brightest Minute" CD/LP/Track Review The Brightest Minute
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 25, 2017
Read "Domains" CD/LP/Track Review Domains
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 13, 2017
Read "64:38 Radio Full Liv(f)e" CD/LP/Track Review 64:38 Radio Full Liv(f)e
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 25, 2017
Read "Cuban Nocturne" CD/LP/Track Review Cuban Nocturne
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 7, 2017
Read "We Out Here" CD/LP/Track Review We Out Here
by Chris May
Published: February 24, 2018