CD Review: Benny Goodman 1938

2I met Benny Goodman at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago in 1975. His band was the headline act and was preceded, strangely, by Gladys Knight and the Pips.
I managed to chat to him back stage for a while but struggled to get in my questions, so enamored was he with my ‗foreign‘ accent.
I found him to be very sociable and eager to learn about South Africa. There! That‘s my sop to name-dropping for this column.
The famous 1938 Benny Goodman concert was recorded in Carnegie Hall using a single microphone suspended in the center of the stage. The concert was originally released on LP in 1950.
This is the first time that the entire concert has been released thanks to the sterling work and research by jazz fundi* Phil Schaap.
The 2-CD set has 38 tracks and a tune-by-tune introduction by Good-man taken from the 1950 LP.
Tunes you will know include: Don’t Be That Way, One O’clock Jump; Body and Soul; China Boy; and Stompin’ At The Savoy.
The Goodman band performs as a big band, quartet and trio and this concert is arguably the event that won respect for the practitioners of jazz.
And the musicians, oh the musicians: Harry James, Gene Krupa, Count Basie, Babe Russin, Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney, Bobby Hackett and a veritable Who‘s Who of great names from that era.
The additional tracks, or bonus tracks to use the industries jargon, hiss and pop like the old 78s did.
Some may find this off-putting but I did not find it detracted from the album‘s mood and excitement.
* fundi — from mfun-disi the Zulu word for teacher or expert