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GOODMAN, Benny: Jam Session (1936-1939) (Benny Goodman/ Benny Goodman Band/ Johnny Mercer/ Johnny Mercer Piano Trio/ Martha Tilton) (Naxos: 8.120605)


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BENNY GOODMAN


Swing Favourites, Vo12: 1936 - 1939



The Swing Era, it isclaimed, was sparked off when the Goodman band was voted Number One in the 1936Down Beat magazine readers' poll. However, Swing bands both good andindifferent predated this advent and although Goodman's was nominally hailedthe archetypal swing outfit, many fans were initially unaware of the role of\the written arrangement" in the latest breakthough. For while Goodman knewthat jazz per se was a non-seller, he had realised that to be commercialswing arrangements needed to incorporate the best elements of jazz. Smoothlyhoned, planned and sophisticated, they nonetheless had to sound improvisational.



In this contextGoodman was fortunate to enlist the top arrangers of the day. These includedJimmy Mundy (1907-1983) and most notably Fletcher Henderson (1897-1952), theblack pianist-bandleader from Georgia whose arrangements provided the firstboost to Goodman's popularity when he (Henderson) was forced through economicnecessity to sell them to him and later endorsed Swing more fully after hebecame Goodman's full-time staff arranger. Taken under the wing ofmusic-publisher Irving Mills the Goodman outfit, the much-vaunted stars ofNabisco's commercial radio Let's Dance programme had cut, inanticipation of their first broadcasts, a few "swing" titles for Columbia which(in the admissible opinion of Benny's brother-in-law, the Columbia A & Rman John Hammond) "did not swing." By Christmas 1934, however, the combinationof Henderson and the rock-solid rhythmic pulse of Gene Krupa on Saturday nightradio had converted the youth of America to the new phenomenon.



From early 1935,Goodman's band recorded various numbers which charted with varying degrees ofsuccess, most notably "Blue Moon" which, with its Helen Ward vocal, clocked atNo.2. The bulk of their material, however, comprised Mills publications forwhich Goodman received only a flat fee without royalties, an unsatisfactoryarrangement which led the ambitious and disgruntled bandleader to negotiate abetter deal -with RCA victor, who, by a happy coincidence, owned the NBCnetwork which promoted Let's Dance. He also had an ally in RCA chiefexecutive Ted Wallerstein, who succeeded in securing his ongoing royaltypayments.



When, in May 1935,Nabisco declined to renew his Let's Dance contract, Goodman accepted,through MCA, an engagement at New York's Roosevelt Grill. The Grill'sclientele, however, accustomed to the sweeter tones of Guy Lombardo, rebelledagainst the "unnerving" Goodman swing, a reaction which soon prompted Goodman(in June, 1935) to take his men on a nationwide MCA-sponsored tour and which inturn led inevitably to their historic first engagement at the Los AngelesPalomar, on 31st August, 1935, a development long regarded as the true birth ofthe Swing Era.



Following the DownBeat poll, by late 1936 Goodman had various US popular chart hits to hiscredit (see Swing Favourites, Volume 1, 1935-1936, Naxos 8.120548) a cataloguefurther extended by "Star Dust" (a best-selling US No.2 instrumentalrevival of the 1929 Hoagy Carmichael-Mitchell Parish standard, this was coupledwith Tommy Dorsey's US No.8 version of the same number) and "Bugle Call Rag"

(US No.13 - a new arrangement by Henderson of the 1934 Goodman hit which, withClaude Thornhill at the piano, had charted at No.5). 1937 brought "Goodnight,My Love" and "This Year's Kisses" (both No.1s), while "Smoke Dreams", "Stompin'At The Savoy", "Afraid To Dream" and "Peckin" also won places in the Top Ten,in addition to some significant "jazz" hits, such as Mary Lou Williams' "CamelHop", a fine Henderson arrangement of Earl Hines' "Rosetta" and arevival of Jimmy McHugh's "I Can't Give You Anything But Love". The band's 1938favourites included Charlie Shavers' "Undecided", a Henderson revival of"Whispering" (by then already a standard since it had provided PaulWhiteman's first million-selling disc in 1921) and a revival of the 1925 TedFiorito song "I Never Knew" (That Roses Grew), while its charted hits (26 TopThirty entries, out of which 16 made the Top Ten) included "I Let A Song Go OutOf My Heart" and Edgar Sampson's "Don't Be That Way" both at No.1,"Sing, Sing, Sing" at No.7, "One O'Clock Jump" at No.8 and "Lullaby InRhythm" at No. 14.



Whereas during 1939fewer Goodman swing favourites actually swung their way into the popular charts(eight titles in the US Top Thirty, six in the Top Ten, including the No.1 "AndThe Angels Sing") a significant commercialising trend towards featuredvocalists is manifested by the sterling contributions of Martha Tilton inBurton Lane and Frank Loesser's catchy "The Lady's In Love With You" (from the1939 Paramount comedy Some Like It Hot) and Johnny Mercer, in his ownrather cheeky compositions "Show Your Linen, Miss Richardson" and "Cuckoo InThe Clock".



Peter Dempsey, 2002



Personnel



Chicago, 23rdApril, 1936:


Benny Goodman,clarinet; Nate Kazebier, Harry Geller, Pee Wee Erwin, trumpets; Red Ballard,Joe Harris, trombones; Hymie Schertzer, Bill De Pew, alto sax; Arthur Rollini,Dick Clark, tenor sax; Jess Stacy, piano; Allen Reuss, guitar; Harry Goodman,string bass; Gene Krupa, drums



New York, 5thNovember,1936:


Benny Goodman,clarinet; Zeke Zarchy, Ziggy Elman, Gordon Griffin, trumpets; Red Ballard,Murray McEachern, trombones; Hymie Schertzer, Bill De Pew, alto sax; ArthurRollini, Vido Musso, tenor sax; Jess Stacy, piano; Allen Reuss, guitar; HarryGoodman, string bass; Gene Krupa, drums



New York, 14thJanuary,1937:


Benny Goodman,clarinet; Harry James, Ziggy Elman, Gordon Griffin, trumpets; Red Ballard,Murray McEachern, trombones; Hymie Schertzer, Dick De Pew, alto sax; ArthurRollini, Vido Musso, tenor sax; Jess Stacy, pano; Allen Reuss, guitar; HarryGoodman, string bass; Gene Krupa, drums



Hollywood, 6thSeptember & New York,12th November,1937:


Benny Goodman,clarinet; Harry James, Ziggy Elman, Gordon Griffin, trombones; Red Ballard,Murray McEachern, trombones; Hymie Schertzer, George Koenig, alto sax; ArthurRollini, Vido Musso, tenor sax; Jess Stacy, piano; Allen Reuss, guitar; HarryGoodman, string bass; Gene Krupa, drums



New York, 16thFebruary,1938:


Benny Goodman,clarinet; Harry James, Ziggy Elman, Gordon Griffin, trumpets; Red Ballard,Vernon Brown, trombones; Hymie Schertzer, George Koenig, alto sax; ArthurRollini, Babe Russin, tenor sax; Jess Stacy, piano; Allen Reuss, guitar; HarryGoodman, string bass; Gene Krupa, drums



New York, 8thApril,1938:


Benny Goodman,clarinet; Harry James, Ziggy Elman, Gordon Griffin, trumpets; Red Ballard,Vernon Brown, trombones; Dave Matthews, Milt Yaner, alto sax; Bud Freeman,Arthur Rollini, tenor sax; Jess Stacy, piano; Ben Heller, guitar; HarryGoodman, string bass; Dave Tough, drums



New York, 28thMay,1938:


Benny Goodman,clarinet; Harry James, Ziggy Elman, Gordon Griffin, trumpets; Red Ballard,Vernon Brown, trombones; Dave Matthews, Noni Bernardi, alto sax; Bud Freeman,Arthur Rollini, tenor sax; Jess Stacy, piano; Ben Heller, guitar; HarryGoodman, string bass; Dave Tough, drums



New York, 23rdNovember,1938:


Benny Goodman, clarinet;Harry James, Ziggy Elman, Gordon Griffin, trumpets; Red Ballard, Vernon Brown,
Disc: 1
Jam Session
1 Jam Session
Bugle Call Rag
2 Bugle Call Rag
Undecided
3 Undecided
Star Dust
4 Star Dust
Whispering
5 Whispering
I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby
6 I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby
Sugarfoot Stomp
7 Sugarfoot Stomp
Chloe
8 Chloe
Camel Hop
9 Camel Hop
The Lady's in Love With You
10 The Lady's in Love With You
Lullaby in Rhythm
11 Lullaby in Rhythm
Sweet Sue, Just You
12 Sweet Sue, Just You
I Never Knew
13 I Never Knew
Rosetta
14 Rosetta
Show Your Linen, Miss Richardson
15 Show Your Linen, Miss Richardson
One O'Clock Jump
16 One O'Clock Jump
Don't Be That Way
17 Don't Be That Way
Wrappin' it Up
18 Wrappin' it Up
Cuckoo in the Clock
19 Cuckoo in the Clock
Farewell Blues
20 Farewell Blues
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