Friday, November 20, 2009

Great Live Albums: Like Dylan Going Electric

Benny Goodman The Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert (Columbia Records)
Benny Goodman (clarinet, b. 1909 - d. 1986)

While some may associate Benny Goodman with the swing/WWII era, he was also a serious performer and band leader with a much wider vision for jazz (large ensembles as well as in small quartets). Goodman was also groundbreaking for employing and work with many African American artists at a time when it was highly dangerous to White performers careers. Goodman gave those critics a big "F.U."

The classic and historic Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert (Columbia Records) concert is one of those moments like when Bob Dylan went electric at the Newport Folk Festival in '65. The Carnegie Hall concert was important because it was the moment when Swing finally arrived to the masses. They (the audience) finally accepted the pulsating beat of Gene Krupa, the driving sensation of Buck Clayton's trumpet, Johnny Hodges on saxophone, the smooth rhythmic melodies of Teddy Wilson on piano and Lionel Hampton on vibes (as well as the rest of the orchestra).

This performance is absolutely smokin'. Forget everything you've ever thought about when it comes to swing and listen to this album as killer live jazz show. The Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert has always been criticized because the sound quality isn't great but this was an era before tape masters and the fact that this historic moment was recorded in its entirety is amazing.

You will feel completely different after listening to it on the first spin; A great live recording and probably one the most important in all of recorded music. Bob Dylan stunned the crowd at Newport and change everything for folk. Benny Goodman stunned the audience at Carnegie Hall and changed everything for Swing and Jazz. For more proof of the power of Benny Goodman's Orchestra take a look at the video for "Sing, Sing, Sing"--Gene Krupa (drums) is a madman!

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