Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
On the Air 1937 - 1938
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Without question, high-octane swing was the rock & roll of the 1930s. Listening to these radio shots recorded live by Goodman's 1937-1938 orchestra (his best) and small group (also his best), one is immediately struck by t... more »
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Without question, high-octane swing was the rock & roll of the 1930s. Listening to these radio shots recorded live by Goodman's 1937-1938 orchestra (his best) and small group (also his best), one is immediately struck by the lighthearted urgency of the players as well as the animated response of the crowd. At this stage in jazz's development, the interaction between audience and artist was vital (only later to be cooled by bebop), and Goodman's band consistently delights and electrifies the crowds. With Gene Krupa providing the heavy backbeats and the band turning up the heat behind Goodman, the music here has a vigorous "rock" quality that goes beyond mere dance music: it almost seems at times that the band is purposely trying to incite and inspire, very "rock-oriented" goals. And the trio and quartet? Simply incredible, mischievous and mirthful, yet absolutely flawless. This two-CD set (complete with a few rarities) is a thrilling snapshot of Goodman's bands in action, energizing and entertaining, more concerned with execution than innovation. Considering Goodman's reputation as a meticulous perfectionist and the bands' acute familiarity with most of these tunes, the spontaneity and spark of these cuts are amazing. Both Goodman and his fast-rising trumpeter Harry James never fail to take things to the next level either. --Marc Greilsamer
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The cream of the cream...but then Sony botches the transfer
John Grabowski | USA | 08/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 2-CD set derives from a 2-LP set that was one of Columbia's earliest such sets--a follow-up to the phenomenally-successfull Carnegie Hall 2-record set issued in 1950. This CD release differs from the vinyl version by adding about six new tunes, only one of which in my view is worth it (Bumblebee Stomp), and--and this is truly horrible--cutting dubbed applause into and over the beginning of each number! The original LP went from tune to tune connected by applause, to give the illusion of a continous concert like the Carnegie set. It also gave the album an uninterrupted flow. For the CD they *fade down between tracks,* but then overdub fake NEW applause at the beginning of each new track! For no reason I can think of, other than perhaps the reissue producer-artiste felt he had to earn his album credit and justify his job. If they'd just taken the original LP version and dubbed it straight to CD they'd have a better product. The remaster itself is poor--muffled and indistinct compared to the original vinyl. Surely this was to eliminate what little crackle there was--these recordings sounded great--but the result is a smothered sound. And the added cuts are at a different volume level (louder) than the existing material. If there is a worse way to make an album I can't think of it. Sony should truly be ashamed. This is what they've done with Columbia's legacy? But what about the performances? These were mostly recorded in the mid-late 30s by a young enthusiast named Bill Saveroy, who later became an engineer at Columbia and a friend to Goodman. Saveroy, who also remastered the Carnegie Hall concert for its original vinyl issue (and did a better job than Sony's botched first CD issue) had state-of-the-art recording equipment for the time, which was actually far better than most people today realize. The result is the best of the best for this kind of stuff--and by "this kind of stuff" I mean Fletcher Henderson-ish 1930s swing. Some highlights are "Ridin' High," "Sugarfoot Stomp," "King Porter Stomp," "Darktown Strutters Ball," "Everybody Loves My Baby," "Have You Met Miss Jones," "Down South Camp Meeting," "Someday Sweetheart" and the highlight of all highlights, an extended, earth-shattering rendition of "St. Louis Blues." Goodman's star soloists--James, Krupa, Elman, Hampton, Wilson, and the always-underrated Jess Stacy, shine. (Dig Stacy on St. Louis Blues! And Elman, the first trumpet soloist, plays one of the most well-balanced, thoughtful solos he ever made. Thank goodness this was recorded.) The sound is excellent for the time, and is even better than on this CD release--as I said, the sound on the original vinyl surpasses this set. If you can find this used on vinyl in good condition (where it had a different title: "The Complete 1937-38 Jazz Concert No. 2") grab that instead of this. Otherwise this release is frustrating: five stars for the music, zero for Sony's repackaging."
What was all the excitement about? Listen to this collection
John Grabowski | 06/10/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you've ever wondered what the excitement over great Goodman band of 1937-38 was all about, check out this collection of airchecks culled from those years. Included are flagwavers, ballads, trios, quartets, big hits and rare gems. From the roars that greet Harry James' four-bar blasts in "Ridin' High," to the spine-tingling rideout on "Roll 'Em" this two-disc set presents the Goodman Orchestra at its zenith."
Better than the studio versions!
Candace Scott | Lake Arrowhead, CA, USA | 08/09/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"All I can say is WOW! Experiencing Benny Goodman live in his glory years must have been an unforgettable experience. This two-disc compilation boasts wonderful sound quality, rippling excitement and in many cases, tracks that are superior to the released studio version. King Porter's Stomp live is incredible. Listen to Harry James' driving trumpet solo and Benny's clarinet solo, much different than the standard version.What a marvelous collection this is, showcasing Benny's band at their apex and swinging more than they ever did afterward. Many of his greatest swing classics are included and the live versions absolutely mesmerize you. Listen to Bugle Call Rag, one of Goodman's brilliant and swingiest standards. The arrangement and instrumentation here are awesome. This is a song you can listen to 1,000 times and never weary of it. If you are just beginning to sample Benny Goodman, this is a good place to begin. This set would serve as a worthy introduction to the King of Swing in his glory years."