Benny Goodman & Jimmy Rowles: Mean to Me
Mean to Me
1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert Plus 1944-47 Small Group And Big Band (Avid Entertainment)
Recorded: Hollywood, April 16, 1947
Rating: 93/100 (learn more)
Every serious jazz fan has heard of the Benny Goodman Quartet and the Benny Goodman Trio. But what about the Benny Goodman Duo? This 1947 pairing with pianist Jimmy Rowles deserves to be far better known, and shows both of these players in fine form. A few months after this session, Goodman would embrace modern jazz, half-heartedly, in a band that brought the King of Swing face-to-face with some young boppers. But this gently swinging version of "Mean to Me" makes no pretensions to keeping up with the times. Rowles plays an unreconstructed stride bass, with a few nods to his hero Art Tatum. Meanwhile, Goodman's tone is sugar and spice and everything nice. Not even a bit of meanness on this "Mean to Me," just two masters at work.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia