Wednesday, March 02, 2011

It Don't Mean A Thing If It Aint' Got That Swing

Before I gave up my membership, The Musical Heritage Society provided the opportunity to purchase a complete edition of Benny Goodman's 1938 Carnegie Hall concert. A triumph for Goodman, for swing, for race relations in music (it was one of the first opportunities, and at a large, important venue, for black and white musicians to play together), and for the historical detective work necessary to track down lost songs, to put Goodman's recollections included on the recording in context. Even if you aren't a particular fan of jazz, or swing, it is a marvelous recording, although the CD separates out the applause and band changes as separate tracks, which makes the set interesting to listen to on iTunes, as there are little thirty- and forty-five-second bits that are titled "Applause".

Along with a live recording of the Dave Brubeck quartet at that same venue, as well as by the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra around the same time, also at Carnegie Hall, I have a nice little set of live jazz at Carnegie Hall that shows this staid institution opening itself to the liveliness of American's signature musical art form. My father, who studied at Carnegie Hall, told me the original auditorium was an acoustic masterpiece; one could stand in center stage and speak and be heard with clarity way up in the cheap seats in the balcony; since microphones didn't exist, this was necessary, but one can get a feeling for the acoustics of this marvelous theater on the Goodman recordings, in particular those previously considered lost but discovered on weathered acetates that have been digitally reconstructed. The Goodman show, in particular, shows the old Carnegie at its best, American swing at the beginning of its national popularity as a powerful musical force, and offers a glimpse of a long-lost moment in our cultural history that should be treasured by all Americans.

Plus, it makes you want to get up and dance.

OK, enough reminiscing about my awesome music library. I'm pushing the button . . .

Lady Evil - Black Sabbath
Baby, Baby Don't Cry - Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
Lamplight Symphony - Kansas
Kiss of Death - Vanden Plas
Pope - Prince
S'il Vous Plait (Live) - Miles Davis, Complete Birth of the Cool
Filipino Box Spring Hog - Tom Waits
Remember Me Lover - Porcupine Tree
Map of the World - Marillion
Times of Trouble - Temple of the Dog

This one just missed the cut. One of those 1970's, country-rock one-hit wonders that deserves to be a hit.

Virtual Tin Cup

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More