About this Recording
8.120605 - GOODMAN, Benny: Jam Session (1936-1939)
English 

BENNY GOODMAN
Swing Favourites, Vo 12: 1936 - 1939

The Swing Era, it is claimed, was sparked off when the Goodman band was voted Number One in the 1936 Down Beat magazine readers’ poll. However, Swing bands both good and indifferent predated this advent and although Goodman’s was nominally hailed the archetypal swing outfit, many fans were initially unaware of the role of “the written arrangement” in the latest breakthough. For while Goodman knew that jazz per se was a non-seller, he had realised that to be commercial swing arrangements needed to incorporate the best elements of jazz. Smoothly honed, planned and sophisticated, they nonetheless had to sound improvisational.

In this context Goodman was fortunate to enlist the top arrangers of the day. These included Jimmy Mundy (1907-1983) and most notably Fletcher Henderson (1897-1952), the black pianist-bandleader from Georgia whose arrangements provided the first boost to Goodman’s popularity when he (Henderson) was forced through economic necessity to sell them to him and later endorsed Swing more fully after he became Goodman’s full-time staff arranger. Taken under the wing of music-publisher Irving Mills the Goodman outfit, the much-vaunted stars of Nabisco’s commercial radio Let’s Dance programme had cut, in anticipation of their first broadcasts, a few “swing” titles for Columbia which (in the admissible opinion of Benny’s brother-in-law, the Columbia A & R man John Hammond) “did not swing.” By Christmas 1934, however, the combination of Henderson and the rock-solid rhythmic pulse of Gene Krupa on Saturday night radio had converted the youth of America to the new phenomenon.

From early 1935, Goodman’s band recorded various numbers which charted with varying degrees of success, most notably “Blue Moon” which, with its Helen Ward vocal, clocked at No.2. The bulk of their material, however, comprised Mills publications for which Goodman received only a flat fee without royalties, an unsatisfactory arrangement which led the ambitious and disgruntled bandleader to negotiate a better deal -with RCA victor, who, by a happy coincidence, owned the NBC network which promoted Let’s Dance. He also had an ally in RCA chief executive Ted Wallerstein, who succeeded in securing his ongoing royalty payments.

When, in May 1935, Nabisco declined to renew his Let’s Dance contract, Goodman accepted, through MCA, an engagement at New York’s Roosevelt Grill. The Grill’s clientele, however, accustomed to the sweeter tones of Guy Lombardo, rebelled against the “unnerving” Goodman swing, a reaction which soon prompted Goodman (in June, 1935) to take his men on a nationwide MCA-sponsored tour and which in turn led inevitably to their historic first engagement at the Los Angeles Palomar, on 31st August, 1935, a development long regarded as the true birth of the Swing Era.

Following the Down Beat poll, by late 1936 Goodman had various US popular chart hits to his credit (see Swing Favourites, Volume 1, 1935-1936, Naxos 8.120548) a catalogue further extended by “Star Dust” (a best-selling US No.2 instrumental revival of the 1929 Hoagy Carmichael–Mitchell Parish standard, this was coupled with Tommy Dorsey’s US No.8 version of the same number) and “Bugle Call Rag” (US No.13 – a new arrangement by Henderson of the 1934 Goodman hit which, with Claude Thornhill at the piano, had charted at No.5). 1937 brought “Goodnight, My Love” and “This Year’s Kisses” (both No.1s), while “Smoke Dreams”, “Stompin’ At The Savoy”, “Afraid To Dream” and “Peckin” also won places in the Top Ten, in addition to some significant “jazz” hits, such as Mary Lou Williams’ “Camel Hop”, a fine Henderson arrangement of Earl Hines’ “Rosetta” and a revival of Jimmy McHugh’s “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love”. The band’s 1938 favourites included Charlie Shavers’ “Undecided”, a Henderson revival of “Whispering” (by then already a standard since it had provided Paul Whiteman’s first million-selling disc in 1921) and a revival of the 1925 Ted Fiorito song “I Never Knew” (That Roses Grew), while its charted hits (26 Top Thirty entries, out of which 16 made the Top Ten) included “I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart” and Edgar Sampson’s “Don’t Be That Way” both at No.1, “Sing, Sing, Sing” at No.7, “One O’Clock Jump” at No.8 and “Lullaby In Rhythm” at No. 14.

Whereas during 1939 fewer Goodman swing favourites actually swung their way into the popular charts (eight titles in the US Top Thirty, six in the Top Ten, including the No.1 “And The Angels Sing”) a significant commercialising trend towards featured vocalists is manifested by the sterling contributions of Martha Tilton in Burton Lane and Frank Loesser’s catchy “The Lady’s In Love With You” (from the 1939 Paramount comedy Some Like It Hot) and Johnny Mercer, in his own rather cheeky compositions “Show Your Linen, Miss Richardson” and “Cuckoo In The Clock”.

Peter Dempsey, 2002

Personnel

Chicago, 23rd April, 1936:
Benny Goodman, clarinet; Nate Kazebier, Harry Geller, Pee Wee Erwin, trumpets; Red Ballard, Joe Harris, trombones; Hymie Schertzer, Bill De Pew, alto sax; Arthur Rollini, Dick Clark, tenor sax; Jess Stacy, piano; Allen Reuss, guitar; Harry Goodman, string bass; Gene Krupa, drums

New York, 5th November,1936:
Benny Goodman, clarinet; Zeke Zarchy, Ziggy Elman, Gordon Griffin, trumpets; Red Ballard, Murray McEachern, trombones; Hymie Schertzer, Bill De Pew, alto sax; Arthur Rollini, Vido Musso, tenor sax; Jess Stacy, piano; Allen Reuss, guitar; Harry Goodman, string bass; Gene Krupa, drums

New York, 14th January,1937:
Benny Goodman, clarinet; Harry James, Ziggy Elman, Gordon Griffin, trumpets; Red Ballard, Murray McEachern, trombones; Hymie Schertzer, Dick De Pew, alto sax; Arthur Rollini, Vido Musso, tenor sax; Jess Stacy, pano; Allen Reuss, guitar; Harry Goodman, string bass; Gene Krupa, drums

Hollywood, 6th September & New York,12th November,1937:
Benny Goodman, clarinet; Harry James, Ziggy Elman, Gordon Griffin, trombones; Red Ballard, Murray McEachern, trombones; Hymie Schertzer, George Koenig, alto sax; Arthur Rollini, Vido Musso, tenor sax; Jess Stacy, piano; Allen Reuss, guitar; Harry Goodman, string bass; Gene Krupa, drums

New York, 16th February,1938:
Benny Goodman, clarinet; Harry James, Ziggy Elman, Gordon Griffin, trumpets; Red Ballard, Vernon Brown, trombones; Hymie Schertzer, George Koenig, alto sax; Arthur Rollini, Babe Russin, tenor sax; Jess Stacy, piano; Allen Reuss, guitar; Harry Goodman, string bass; Gene Krupa, drums

New York, 8th April,1938:
Benny Goodman, clarinet; Harry James, Ziggy Elman, Gordon Griffin, trumpets; Red Ballard, Vernon Brown, trombones; Dave Matthews, Milt Yaner, alto sax; Bud Freeman, Arthur Rollini, tenor sax; Jess Stacy, piano; Ben Heller, guitar; Harry Goodman, string bass; Dave Tough, drums

New York, 28th May,1938:
Benny Goodman, clarinet; Harry James, Ziggy Elman, Gordon Griffin, trumpets; Red Ballard, Vernon Brown, trombones; Dave Matthews, Noni Bernardi, alto sax; Bud Freeman, Arthur Rollini, tenor sax; Jess Stacy, piano; Ben Heller, guitar; Harry Goodman, string bass; Dave Tough, drums

New York, 23rd November,1938:
Benny Goodman, clarinet; Harry James, Ziggy Elman, Gordon Griffin, trumpets; Red Ballard, Vernon Brown, trombones; Dave Matthews, Noni Bernardi, alto sax; Bud Freeman, Arthur Rollini, tenor sax; Jess Stacy, piano; Ben Heller, guitar; Harry Goodman, string bass; Buddy Schutz, drums

New York, 15th December,1938:
Benny Goodman, clarinet; Harry James, Ziggy Elman, Gordon Griffin, trumpets; Red Ballard, Vernon Brown, trombones; Dave Matthews, Noni Bernardi alto sax; Jerry Jerome, Arthur Rollini, tenor sax; Jess Stacy, piano; Ben Heller, guitar; Harry Goodman, string bass; Buddy Schutz, drums

New York, 1st February,1939:
Benny Goodman, clarinet; Irving Goodman, Ziggy Elman, Gordon Griffin, trumpets; Red Ballard, Vernon Brown, trombones; Dave Matthews, Noni Bernardi, alto sax; Jerry Jerome, Arthur Rollini, tenor sax; Jess Stacy, piano; Ben Heller, guitar; Harry Goodman, string bass; Buddy Schutz, drums

New York, 7th April,1939:
Benny Goodman, clarinet; Ziggy Elman, Gordon Griffin, Irving Goodman, trumpets; Red Ballard, Vernon Brown, trombones; Hymie Schertzer, Noni Bernardi, alto sax; Jerry Jerome, Arthur Rollini, tenor sax; Jess Stacy, piano; Ben Heller, guitar; Harry Goodman, string bass; Buddy Schutz, drums

1. JAM SESSION (Jimmy Mundy)
(RCA Victor BS 02461) Recorded 5th November, 1936, New York 2:57

2. BUGLE CALL RAG (Jack Pettis–Irving Mills–Billy Meyers–Elmer Schoebel, arr. Fletcher Henderson)
(RCA Victor BS 02460) Recorded 5th November, 1936, New York 3:03

3. UNDECIDED (Charlie Shavers)
(RCA Victor BS 030704) Recorded 15th December, 1938, New York 3:02

4. STAR DUST (Hoagy Carmichael–Mitchell Parish, arr. Fletcher Henderson)
(RCA Victor BS 100379-2) Recorded 23rd April, 1936, Chicago 2:55

5. WHISPERING (John & Malvin Schonberger, arr. Fletcher Henderson)
(RCA Victor BS 030701) Recorded 15th December, 1938, New York 2:48

6. I CAN’T GIVE YOU ANYTHING BUT LOVE, BABY (Jimmy McHugh–Dorothy Fields)
with Martha Tilton, vocal
(RCA Victor PBS 09690-2) Recorded 6th September, 1937, Hollywood 3:40

7. SUGARFOOT STOMP (Louis Armstrong–King Oliver, arr. Fletcher Henderson)
(RCA Victor PBS 09689) Recorded 6th September, 1937, Hollywood 2:50

8. CHLOE (Neil Moret–Gus Kahn)
(RCA Victor BS 04237) Recorded 14th January, 1937, New York 3:16

9. CAMEL HOP (Mary Lou Williams)
(RCA Victor 017042) Recorded 12th November, 1937, New York 2:52

10. THE LADY’S IN LOVE WITH YOU (Burton Lane–Frank Loesser)
with Martha Tilton, vocal
(RCA Victor 035714-2) Recorded 7th April, 1939, New York 3:06

11. LULLABY IN RHYTHM (Hirsch–Profit, arr. Edgar Sampson)
(RCA Victor 022415) Recorded 8th April, 1938, New York 3:35

12. SWEET SUE, JUST YOU (Victor Young–Will J. Harris)
(RCA Victor 022419) Recorded 8th April, 1938, New York 3:30

13. I NEVER KNEW (Ted Fiorito–Gus Kahn)
(RCA Victor 022416) Recorded 8th April, 1938, New York 2:25

14. ROSETTA (Harry Woods–Earl Hines, arr. Fletcher Henderson)
(RCA Victor 04238) Recorded 14th January, 1937, New York 2:45

15. SHOW YOUR LINEN, MISS RICHARDSON (Johnny Mercer–Bernie Hanighen)

with Johnny Mercer, vocal
(RCA Victor 035713) Recorded 7th April, 1939, New York 3:00

16. ONE O’CLOCK JUMP (Count Basie, arr. Basie)
(RCA Victor 019832) Recorded 16th February, 1938, New York 3:18

17. DON’T BE THAT WAY (Benny Goodman–Edgar Sampson–Mitchell Parish, arr. Sampson)
(RCA Victor 019831) Recorded 16th February, 1938, New York 3:22

18. WRAPPIN’ IT UP (Fletcher Henderson, arr. Henderson)
(RCA Victor 023510) Recorded 28th May, 1938, New York 3:06

19. CUCKOO IN THE CLOCK (Johnny Mercer–Walter Donaldson)
with Johnny Mercer, vocal
(RCA Victor 031874) Recorded 1st February, 1939, New York 3:01

20. FAREWELL BLUES (Elmer Schoebel–Paul Mares–Leon Roppolo)
(RCA Victor 030308) Recorded 23rd November, 1938, New York 2:21


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