Benny Goodman Sextet – America In Swingtime – WOR/WNYC – February 19, 1941 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Benny Goodman this week. Heading in a small-combo Swing direction with Goodman’s Sextet, consisting of Johnny Guarnieri, piano – Charlie Christian, guitar – Georgie Auld, sax – Cootie Williams, trumpet – Artie Bernstein on bass and David Tough on drums.
This was a session, part of an episode of America in Swingtime whch aired over WNYC and WOR on February 19, 1941.
By the 1940s, some jazz musicians were borrowing from classical music, while others, such as Charlie Parker, were broadening the rhythmic, harmonic, and melodic vocabulary of swing to create bebop (or bop). The bebop recordings Benny Goodman made for Capitol were praised by critics. For his bebop band he hired Buddy Greco, Zoot Sims, and Wardell Gray. He consulted his friend Mary Lou Williams for advice on how to approach the music of Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. Pianist Mel Powell was also an adviser in 1945. Goodman enjoyed bebop. When he heard Thelonious Monk, he said, “I like it, I like that very much. I like the piece and I like the way he played it … I think he’s got a sense of humor and he’s got some good things there.” He also admired Swedish clarinetist Stan Hasselgård. But after playing with a bebop band for over a year, he returned to his swing band because he concluded that was what he knew best. In 1953, he said, “Maybe bop has done more to set music back for years than anything … Basically it’s all wrong. It’s not even knowing the scales … Bop was mostly publicity and people figuring angles.”
Not sure if this Benny Goodman Sextet session has made the rounds. It most likely has as there’s very little of Benny Goodman’s work that hasn’t been unearthed and reissued in one form or another. This session came very damaged and required a lot of surgery to get into playable shape – so if it sounds a bit strange in places, you should have heard it before.
But enjoy nonetheless.
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