Sat, 16 January 2010
One of the turning points in the history of American popular music happened 72 years ago today, when Benny Goodman took the stage at New York's Carnegie Hall. Many hold that the performancemarks the acceptance of jazz as a legitimate art form by the opinion makers for mainstream American society.
Legend holds that the idea to present the Goodman band in concert at Carnegie Hall began as a publicity stunt by Goodman's publicist. Goodman was initially hesitant about the concert, fearing that his brand of jazz would fall flat before audiences accustomed to classical music. His fame had come from making crowds dance in the aisles at movie theatres, not in a staid concert setting.
The program that night was an all-encompassing overview of jazz past and present. Goodman included several songs that his band had made famous like "Blue Skies" and the inimitable "Sing, Sing, Sing"along with some new songs he had not yet released on record. Fletcher Henderson was commissioned to prepare brand new arrangements of "Blue Room" and "Make Believe" (although the latter was not finished in time) and a mdley called "Twenty Years of Jazz" hit the high points in the history of hot music.
Finally, he tried to introduce the "highbrow" audience to the excitement of an authentic jam session that would feature some of the stars of the Count Basie and Duke Ellington bands along with his own. The jam was based on "Honeysuckle Rose" featuring stars from the Goodman band as well as Buck Clayton, Harry Carney, Freddy Green, Lester Young and Johnny Hodges.
The concert has been available on record in a number of different versions, with the best being Live at Carnegie Hall - 1938 Complete. Click here to listen to the thrilling version of "Sing, Sing, Sing" that stopped the show and made Gene Krupa a household name. The band that night included Goodman on clarinet, Harry Carney on trumpet, Bobby Hackett on cornet, Freddie Green on guitar, Lionel Hampton on vibes, Teddy Wilson on piano, Walter Page on bass and Krupa on drums.
Category:general -- posted at: 4:33am EDT