Benny Goodman took some stylistic chances during his 11-year tenure with Capitol. He listened closely to, then flirted with, bebop during this time, not altering his own swing-based playing but inserting it into a bop framework. He also played traditional swing in various small groups. The sessions covered on this most recent Mosaic four-disc (six-album) set were originally issued on a number of 10" and 12" albums, as well as the CDs BG in Hi Fi and The Benny Goodman Story, a Japanese issue.
Those looking to preview some of the most interesting jazz offerings due to arrive in any given year know that New York's Winter Jazzfest is the place to do it. For more than a decade, this annual January happening has had its finger on the pulse of the jazz world, giving the press, the fans, and curious jazz newcomers an opportunity to hear the best of what's around and the best of what's to come…
Bio of swing band leader 'Benny Goodman' from age 10 (1919) to his landmark Carnegie Hall band concert in 1938. Not exactly historically accurate, but great music. Also, guest appearances by many great musicians of the time.
Benny Goodman's formidable work in front of the big band made him one of the world's most popular musicians, but his work with these "chamber jazz" groups made him one of the world's most respected musicians. Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Jimmie Noone's Apex Club band, to name two, had prospered in the 1920s as small groups playing traditional New Orleans-style fare, but until Goodman's forays beginning in 1935, the small band had been limited to blues, Dixieland, and the group improvisations of the New Orleans style. Goodman applied the small-group concept to the steady 4/4 rhythm and the repertoire (mostly standards) of swing. Instead of being dance music, this small-group swing showcased the individual and collective talent of the musicians involved–and the talent and telekinetic interplay of these men were considerable to say the least.
Renowned as a virtuoso jazz clarinetist and legendary bandleader, Benny Goodman is also remembered for the works he commissioned from leading composers of his day. Poulenc’s strikingly beautiful Clarinet Sonata was his last composition, while Bernstein’s was his first published piece. Both Gershwin and Stravinsky added their distinctive stamp to the swing vibe which was all the rage in the early 20th century. The jazz flavour of Morton Gould’s Benny’s Gig is heightened by the unusual coupling of clarinet and double bass, while pungent folk rhythms define Bartók’s virtuoso Contrasts.