Monday, August 26, 2013

Benny Goodman - Verve Jazz Masters 33

As far as jazz artists go, Benny Goodman is one of the few (along with Dave Brubeck and Ella Fitzgerald) that I really know anything about. He was the king of swing who turned the clarinet, the dorky instrument for girls who couldn't make it on the flute, into the signature swing jazz instrument. Not only that, but he probably did more for desegregation in jazz than just about anyone. Legend has it that he forbade anyone from dropping the n-word in his presence, and he toured with black musicians (even taking them into Carnegie Hall) during a time when such a thing was just not done. Dude was way ahead of his time in oh so many ways, and has had as much of a lasting impact on jazz as anyone could ever hope to have.

Listening to the few live tracks on this album, it's apparent that audiences simply couldn't get enough of the man, and I can't get enough either. He still sounds hip today, even though some of these performances are over 70 years old. While I actually prefer the Columbia greatest hits compilation to this one, there are plenty of great songs on this album which do not appear on the Columbia compilation. It's worth owning for Benny Goodman fans and Verve Jazz Masters completists.

Baleeted? No. I support this man and everything he has ever done.

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