Satisfaction with this one depends on your budget...
William E. Adams | Midland, Texas USA | 05/12/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you like your jazz/swing to be pre-World War II, this disc's for you. Here are 15 cuts with Benny and orchestra, featuring pianist Teddy Wilson, drummer Gene Krupa and Lionel Hampton on vibes. You get 53 minutes of tracks laid down in the 1930's, including some famous songs and performances. With all that said, however, this RCA release may not be the best value available in Goodman CD's. The liner notes are brief, there is little data on the songs or the settings. Two of the four booklet pages are wasted touting other releases in this particular RCA "Greatest Hits" series. My copy says the disc was issued in 1996. But nowhere does it say "remastered." While the songs are not really scratchy, one can tell the original sources here were not in perfect shape or cleaned up digitally. I found my copy at a bargain price, so I am satisfied. The music, after all, is vintage Benny Goodman, and the sound quality is acceptable. If you want the single best CD of his hits that's in print, however, you might look at the other items in the Amazon listing. Read some reviews, compare prices---you might be happier with a different choice."
William E. Adams | 07/06/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)
"When rating a greatest hits complilation of one of the greatest bands in the 20th century the most important criteria are the packaging and remastering. On both counts this CD fails miserably. Scratchy sounding recordings that appear to have been dubbed by amateurs. Liner notes, recording information etc. are uninformative. Better presentations of Goodman's music exist. It's a shame that RCA/BMG take so little interest in their treasure trove of classic recordings."
"In A Sentimental Mood"
Rebecca*rhapsodyinblue* | CA USA | 12/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""If an individual allows his personal standard to be eroded, something of what he does is going to be compromised. It's a matter of detail, sometimes when you start losing detail, whether it's in music or in life, something as small as not sending a thank-you note, of failing to be polite to someone, you start to lose substance." ~ Benny Goodman (1909-1986) ~
The above quote was part of Benny Goodman's responses to Glenn Miller's questions to him before he had his own band: "How do you do it? How do you get started?" His initial advice was "I don't know but whatever you do, don't stop. Just keep on going. Because one way or the other, if you want to find reasons why you shouldn't keep on, you'll find them. The obstacles are all there; there are a million of them. But if you want to do something, you do it anyway, and handle the obstacles as they come. Even to this day, I don't like people walking on stage not looking good. You have to look good. If you feel special about yourself then you're going to play special." That was a totally brilliant advice from a talented jazz artist to another one-in-the-making back then. Definitely Glenn Miller paid attention to his advice and became one of the most successful recording artists in his time.
A very fine clarinetist, a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Awardee and the King of Swing, Benny Goodman was one the greatest jazz artists along with Glenn Miller in the Big Band Era.
This CD features a collection of fifteen Benny Goodman's greatest hits recorded between 1935 and 1937. My personal choices from this compilation include Irving Berlin's "Always," Kurtz/Mills/Ellington's "In A Sentimental Mood" and Gordon Jenkins' "Goodbye." These tunes were recorded by Benny Goodman and his Orchestra.
"Body and Soul" and "After You've Gone" are two tracks from The Benny Goodman Trio (Benny Goodman on clarinet, Teddy Wilson on piano and Gene Krupa on drums). It was Gene Krupa who bestowed upon him the title of undisputed "King of Swing."
Two of the best tracks are "Tea For Two" and "Moonglow," which were recorded by The Benny Goodman Quartet (the Trio plus Lionel Hampton on vibes).
I highly recommend this wonderful CD to add to your collection of timeless Big Band music. Great music to listen to if you're in a sentimental mood! "
Not The Best Benny Goodman Compilation Around - But Not Bad
Rebecca*rhapsodyinblue* | 10/16/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I agree - to a point - with the 1-star review in that the liner notes written by Chick Crumpacker, co-author of Jazz Legends, are skimpy (one page) and that the information on each track is minimal, being confined to composers and recording dates. There is no proper discography showing Victor label numbers, vocalists, and chart details. But I wouldn't call the sound quality poor. Of course, I'm not an audiophile so I don't look for "pristine" perfect. As long as there is no loud discernible hiss, scratch and pop I'm fine with it, and that's the case here. It's fine.
However, where I also find fault with the album is the title "Greatest Hits" as three of the 15 tracks were never hits per se for Benny, and he DID, after all, have 75 Victor hits from which to choose. The non-hits here are Get Happy, which was the flip of Christopher Columbus in the spring of 1936 on Victor 25279, Tea For Two, the flip of Runnin' Wild on Victor 25529 in February 1937, and Always, the B-side of Japanese Sandman on Victor 25024 in June 1935. Only the latter among these cuts was ever a hit, reaching # 10.
Of those that are here, most are instrumentals the earliest of which are represented by the fall 1935 two-sided Body And Soul from the Broadway musical Three's A Crowd (# 5) and its flipside, After You've Gone (# 20), both by The Benny Goodman Trio (Benny, drummer Gene Krupa and pianist Teddy Wilson) on Victor 25115. Another from that same period is King Porter Stomp on Victor 25090 (# 10) by the full orchestra featuring a trumpet solo by Bunny Berigan, as does the early 1936 hit, Good-Bye on Victor 25215 (# 20), and which became Benny's closing theme.
In the summer of 1936 he had the instrumentals Stompin' At The Savoy reach # 11 on Victor 25247 in July, followed by In A Sentimental Mood on Victor 25351 (# 13 that August) and Moon Glow on Victor 25398 (# 8 in September). This was a re-recording of his 1934 # 1 on Columbia, done this time by The Benny Goodman Quartet featuring the Trio with the addition of vibraphonist Lionel Hampton. Later that fall, You Turned The Tables On Me became a # 1 in October with a vocal by Helen Ward on Victor 25391, while a new version of the 1934 Columbia hit, Love Me Or Leave Me, this time by The Benny Goodman Quartet, reached # 4 on Victor 25406. Then, in December, Bugle Call Rag, yet another re-recording of a 1934 Columbia hit, made it to # 13 on Victor 25467.
Early in 1937, with vocal by the great Ella Fitzgerald and featuring the trumpet of Harry James for the first time, he had a # 1 smash (four weeks at the top) with Goodnight, My Love from the film Stowaway on Victor 25461. The latest hit here is 1938's Sing, Sing, Sing (With A Swing), considered by many musical historians to be the band's greatest record ever. Selected for the NARAS (National Academy Of Recording Arts And Sciences) this peaked at # 7 in April 1938 on Victor 25796. With an interpolation of Christopher Columbus included, it marked the final recording involving Gene Krupa with the band.
So, not a bad disc by any means, but one which would have been turned into a 5-star volume by the inclusion of some hits in place of those three that weren't - such as the two-sided # 1, It's Been So Long/Goody-Goody (vocals by Helen Ward) and the # 1 These Foolish Things Remind Me Of You, all from 1936 and involving vocals by Ward. Or perhaps the 1937 and 1938 # 1's This Year's Kisses with vocal by Jimmy Rushing and the instrumental Don't Be That Way and its B-side, One O'Clock Jump.
It should also have had more information on the tracks such as provided above because this is what many buyers look for in these historical compilations."
The King of Swing
Eric Mayforth | Houston, Texas | 09/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This disc contains 15 of Benny Goodman's songs from the last half of the 1930s, near the peak of the swing era. Goodman was a giant of twentieth century popular music, and numbers such as the joyous "Stompin' at the Savoy" and the mesmerizing "Goodbye" are prime reasons why his music has not fallen into obscurity seven decades after it was popular. "