I'm a big admirer of Benny Goodman's small group recordings from 1935 to 1939. He recorded with different group sizes and what I like is the relaxness in the songs, there is so much joy of play hearable.
The sound is full and often, you get the feeling, there were many more musicians involved than actually were.
Most of the recordings were done as a quartet, with Gene Krupa on drums, Teddy Wilson on piano and Lionel Hampton on vibes.
Please note, that two of the musicians (Wilson and Hampton) were black. It was quite uncommon at that time to have mixed orchestras. In fact, Benny Goodman was hesitating for a long time to perform with black musicians on stage because of race discrimination.
Moonglow (or Moon Glow) was recorded by the quartet in 1936 and there are two existing takes. Take two is a tad faster than take one and is our song of the week. The same tune was a number one hit two years before, recorded by Goodman's freshly organized permanent performance orchestra.
Moonglow is a quite slow Lindy Hop tune, which suits perfectly to the winter season we have right now in Europe. Imagine, it's cold outside and you are attending an afternoon swing event. You drink some hot tea, eat a piece of cake and dance to this song.
I recommend “The Complete RCA Victor Small Group Recordings” for every swing dancer and music lover, it's one of the best compilations I've ever bought. The remastering is softly and respectfully done without damaging the original sound feeling.
What do you think about Benny Goodman's small group recordings? Let us know in the comment section below!
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