Wednesday, January 09, 2008

One Day, Benny Goodman Performed

It was in January of 1938, pretty close to today (but I’d forget to blog on the right day, the 16th), at Carnegie Hall. The program was typical Goodman swing music and he arranged for it to be recorded. In those days, however, concert recordings had little interest among fans, as people wanted perfect studio records and not anything with mistakes, background noise or applause in them.

It wasn’t until 1950 that Columbia released the discs on a long-playing record, a bit edited for space. The album has never been “out of print” since then, which must be some sort of record, so to speak. What’s remarkable about this is a concert given 70 years ago, released on discs 58 years ago, is as readily available as anything recorded in the last few months. I guess that fits the definition of a classic.

Recently, Columbia released the entire series of the original acetates on a double CD set, every moment of that night is now available and with minimal audio processing to preserve the high notes (missing in previous sets to eliminate surface noise).

“Benny Goodman At Carnegie Hall 1938” is on Columbia Legacy C2K 65143. It’s a good companion to “Benny Goodman On The Air (1937-1938),” Columbia Legacy C2K 48836, a series of recordings made from his tour dates at various hotel ballrooms. It’s a re-release of a long-playing album which I urged Columbia to do for their Legacy series.

Doesn’t hurt to ask.


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