Volume seven in the Classics Benny Goodman chronology presents 22 sides recorded for the Victor label in Hollywood during August 1936 and in New York during October and November of that year. Three big band performances open this compilation; the first two used arrangements written by Fletcher Henderson. Next come four titles excellently rendered by the Benny Goodman trio and quartet with Teddy Wilson, Gene Krupa, and vibraphonist Lionel Hampton, who sings wonderfully on "Exactly Like You" and the "Vibraphone Blues"…
The 1938 version of Benny Goodman & His Orchestra was still a strong ensemble, featuring Goodman, Harry James, Ziggy Elman, tenor saxophonist Bud Freeman, Jess Stacy, Martha Tilton, and Dave Tough on drums, plus in the trio/quartet Teddy Wilson and Lionel Hampton. Gene Krupa might have been missed, but the ensemble still swung hard. Highlights of this chronological study include "Lullaby in Rhythm," "I Let a Song Go out of My Heart" (featuring Tilton), "Big John's Special," "Wrappin' It Up," and the quartet version of "Dizzy Spells."
The first half of this chronological release of Benny Goodman's 1931-1933 recordings is comprised of dance band performances from 1931 - 12 selections with vocals from Paul Small, Smith Ballew, and Dick Robertson that have little to recommend them except excellent musicianship. The jazz content is pretty low and even Goodman is not heard from much. This is from the era when the clarinetist earned his employment as a studio musician. The final ten numbers are from 1933 and are of greater interest. Trombonist/singer Jack Teagarden is well featured on six songs, Billie Holiday makes her hesitant recording debut on "Your Mother's Son-in-Law" and "Riffin' the Scotch," and there are some fine solos along the way by both Jack and Charlie Teagarden, pianist Joe Sullivan, and Goodman. This is still Benny Goodman pre-history, for he would not attempt to lead a big band until 1934.
This release features some of the best live recordings by the celebrated Benny Goodman Sextet featuring the legendary Charlie Christian. Taken from rare radio broadcasts, they present the magic of Christians guitar during his short-lived three year music career, before he succumbed to tuberculosis in early 1942. As a bonus, this edition presents four tracks taken from a jam session at Minneapolis Harlem Breakfast Club, presenting the Jerry Jerome Quartet with Charlie Christian on electric guitar (including extended solos), Frankie Hines on piano and the great Oscar Pettiford on bass (no drums).
Benny Goodman took some stylistic chances during his 11-year tenure with Capitol. He listened closely to, then flirted with, bebop during this time, not altering his own swing-based playing but inserting it into a bop framework. He also played traditional swing in various small groups. The sessions covered on this most recent Mosaic four-disc (six-album) set were originally issued on a number of 10" and 12" albums, as well as the CDs BG in Hi Fi and The Benny Goodman Story, a Japanese issue.