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Centennial Collection (Bonus Dvd)
Benny Goodman
Centennial Collection (Bonus Dvd)
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (21) - Disc #1

Benny Goodman's 100th birthday wouldn't have been until 2009, but Bluebird has loosened the parameters for its Centennial Collection series. So here is yet another collection of the King of Swing's recordings from the mid-...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Benny Goodman
Title: Centennial Collection (Bonus Dvd)
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 1
Label: RCA
Release Date: 8/24/2004
Album Type: Original recording remastered
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Style: Swing Jazz
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 828766008821

Benny Goodman's 100th birthday wouldn't have been until 2009, but Bluebird has loosened the parameters for its Centennial Collection series. So here is yet another collection of the King of Swing's recordings from the mid-to-late '30s, including his legendary collaborations with arranger Fletcher Henderson--but not such Columbia items as the 1938 Carnegie Hall Concert. The classics here include "Sing, Sing, Sing" and "King Porter Stomp," and there's a guest appearance by Ella Fitzgerald. Although the bulk of the material features the full orchestra, the set also includes one track by his trio, two by the quartet, and a 1936 all-star septet under Gene Krupa's name. The DVD ranges from film performances of the 1940s to clips from the 1966 Belgian Jazz Festival. The closing audio-only interview with Goodman comes from an unidentified date. --Lloyd Sachs

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CD Reviews

A good set that could have been better
T. Givens | Virginia , USA | 09/01/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I don't quite understand what this set is the Centennial of, in regards to BG, but it has its merits. One has to understand that this is yet another Greatest Hits type release.

On the CD, I like most of the inclusions. 'King Porter Stomp', 'Bugle Call Rag', and 'Sing, Sing, Sing' are essential Goodman hits. But where are others like 'Don't Be That Way'? And BMG seems to always put 'And The Angels Sing' on Goodman CDs. There are much better tracks with Martha Tilton. And it seems every BMG release of BG includes 'Goodnight, My Love', when 'Did You Mean It?' was the the best Goodman song with Ella Fitzgerald. 'Angels', and 'Goodnight' should not have been on this CD, enough is enough. Most of the other tracks are worthy additions. Considering that Goodman did nearly 300 sides for Victor, it would be a hard task choosing one CD worth of them. Adding 'I Hope Gabriel Likes My Music', that BG did with Gene Krupa's then new band was a nice touch. Overall, I think the best single CD of BG currently in print is 'The Ultimate Collection' on the Prism label.

On the DVD (which is only about 40 minutes long and copy protected; I would buy VHS too but not available) I have several problems. First, there is a movie trailer for 'The Gang's All Here', which shows a few seconds of BG doing 'Minnie The Moocher'. Couldn't we have seen the whole performance instead of the trailer? Most of the trailer seems to be of Carmen Miranda singing badly. This is not a Carmen Miranda set. The four clips from the 1966 Belgian Jazz Festival are a tired BG past his prime. Performances from 'Hollywood Hotel' would have been better inclusions (I'm lucky to have a copy of this virtually impossible to get film). No 'Hollywood Hotel', no 'Big Broadcast Of 1937', no 'Song Is Born' clips is a huge disappointment. This leaves the PBS documentary, 'Adventures In The Kingdom Of Swing', still the best source of BG video. I wish someone would do a DVD/VHS of all possible BG theater film performances, including the 'shorts', without editing or voice-overs.

At less than $20, this is a good value. Some of the video will thrill collectors obsessed with every last BG tidbit, but I was disappointed. Thankfully the DVD was essentially free. The CD music choices could have been a bit different, but are mostly a very good selection."
One-disc intro to Goodman's 1935-39 music, plus a DVD!
J. Lund | SoCal, USA | 03/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It may be an exaggeration to call bandleader and clarinetist Benny Goodman the king of swing, particularly when there are a few others from that era whom are second to none (Duke Ellington, anyone?). On the other hand, it isn't quite right that in recent years some of Goodman's key recordings aren't even reissued under his own name (e.g., THE GENIUS OF CHARLIE CHRISTIAN boxed set). Granted, guitarist Christian is one of early jazz's most innovative and influential soloists. Yet Goodman's presence is not exactly an afterthought that is undeserving of top -- or any other -- billing. CENTENNIAL restores the leader's name to his own recordings, and hopefully not just because Christian isn't present on these cuts.

CENTENNIAL picks off the top of Goodman's 1935-1939 RCA recordings, and there are obviously a lot of still-provocative tracks to choose from. A few pop standards are covered ("Body and Soul," "Good-Bye," "Moonglow," etc.), but the majority of the CD focuses on large and small group recordings that for the most part highlight a variety of that era's greatest soloists. Goodman himself is always remarkable, and such sidepersons as Roy Eldridge, Ziggy Elman, or Harry James (trumpet), Gene Krupa (drums), Lionel Hampton (vibes), Teddy Wilson or Jess Stacy (piano) and others keep things interesting from track to track (in no small part due to the arrangements of Fletcher Henderson and others). Unfortunately the booklet doesn't list the complete personnel in the session data, but the liner notes fill in some of the gaps. Only three of the twenty-one tracks feature vocalists (including a young Ella Fitzgerald on "Goodnight, My Love"), so you get the idea that the band is in the forefront on this CD. Although the 1938 Carnegie Hall version of "Sing, Sing, Sing" is untouchable, the studio version here comes reasonably close to the excitement of the live version (and is better-recorded).

The DVD collects a variety of clips mostly from the swing era (and lifted from feature-length motion pictures), including "Why Don't You Do Right?" from STAGE DOOR CANTEEN (featuring Peggy Lee on vocals). There is also newsreel coverage of the 1955 opening of THE BENNY GOODMAN STORY and an audio-only interview. Not to be overlooked is footage from a 1966 jazz festival, where one might expect to see Goodman past his prime. Yet while the musical context may have been reclassified from modern to traditional, his clarinet playing is still outstanding, arguably even moreso than on the earlier recordings (this is the one and only area where I respectfully disagree with the previous reviewer). Overall, the before-mentioned GENIUS OF CHARLIE CHRISTIAN may be the first place to go for Goodman's greatest recordings, but CENTENNIAL is also highly recommended, particularly for those who want a single-disc set of highlights."