Benny Goodman: One O'Clock Jump

Track

One O'Clock Jump

Group

Benny Goodman & His Orchestra

CD

The Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert (Columbia 65143)

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Musicians:

Benny Goodman (clarinet), Harry James (trumpet), Ziggy Elman (trumpet), Chris Griffin (trumpet), Vernon Brown (trombone), Red Ballard (trombone), Hymie Schertzer (alto sax), George Koenig (alto sax), Art Rollini (tenor sax), Babe Russin (tenor sax), Jess Stacy (piano), Allen Reuss (guitar), Harry Goodman (bass), Gene Krupa (drums).

Composed by Count Basie, Eddie Durham & Buster Smith

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Recorded: Carnegie Hall, New York, January 16, 1938

Benny_goodman--1938_carnegie_hall_concert

Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

While his inter-personal skills left much to be desired, Benny Goodman cared about his band and was always interested in making his musicians sound good. When it came to programming the 1938 Carnegie Hall jazz concert, he must have realized that he and the band would be nervous, so Goodman programmed the opening set to get everyone comfortable as they got used to their new surroundings. First up was "Don't Be That Way", a song that swings well in almost any tempo, then a familiar Fletcher Henderson arrangement on "Sometimes I'm Happy", which the band had probably played every night of its existence. If that wasn't enough to calm everyone onstage down, there was a big band blues, namely "One O'Clock Jump". Picking this piece was a no-brainer: it was the theme song of the Count Basie Band, which was gaining popularity by the week, and Basie himself was at Carnegie that night to play in the jam session. Further, "One O'Clock Jump" was a good framework for a big band blues--the riffs were engaging and the key change from F to D-flat was a reliable way to raise the energy in the band. Jess Stacy's opening solo is an obvious homage to Basie, but Stacy wisely knew Basie's roots, and there is more stride in Stacy's tribute than Basie might have played himself. Babe Russin was no Herschel Evans or Lester Young, but he had listened to both tenormen and his solo has the tone of Evans and the light rhythm of Young. Vernon Brown plays a swaggering trombone solo followed by Goodman. The clarinetist gets the most solo room, but he makes great use of it, especially when he gets the rhythm section to bring the volume down behind him. Pulling off a simple but spontaneous musical gesture like that can change the course of a concert and inspire the musicians. It also showed any non-believers in Carnegie that jazz was not always loud and brash. After Goodman, Stacy gets another spot before Harry James steps up for a short but warm-toned solo. Krupa boosts the band up as they play through the final band riffs.

Reviewer: Thomas Cunniffe

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