Benny Goodman: Blue Skies
Benny Goodman (clarinet)
The Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert (Columbia 65143)
Benny Goodman (clarinet), Harry James (trumpet), Ziggy Elman (trumpet), Hymie Schertzer (alto sax), Art Rollini (tenor sax), Jess Stacy (piano), Allen Reuss (guitar), Harry Goodman (bass), Gene Krupa (drums),
Red Ballard (trombone), Vernon Brown (trombone), George Koenig (alto sax), Babe Russin (tenor sax).
Composed by Irving Berlin.
Recorded: Carnegie Hall, New York, January 16, 1938
Rating: 96/100 (learn more)
The star of this performance is Fletcher Henderson's chart. The intro starts with an Ellingtonian growl that morphs into a fanfare. From the opening A theme statement, Henderson coyly plays with Irving Berlin's melody, adding syncopation and fills that could serve as a classroom model for "jazzing" a melody. Before long he is constructing a fresh variations, new ways of looking at those blue skies. The section work is excellent, and the rhythm section wisely underplays to let the horns stand out all the more. All in all, it's a great moment in swing, and one that deserved its moment on the stage of Carnegie Hall.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia