Thursday, August 10, 2017

Benny Goodman - The Complete Small Combinations (vol. 1 & 2)

These small groups cut a total of 47 titles for Victor over a 45-month period. The first recording session, by a trio, was in New York on 13th July 1935 and began with "After You've Gone", an old war-horse for jazz improvisers. The last session was also in New York (others had been in Chicago and Hollywood) on 6th April 1939, and the quartet recorded an original composition, "Opus 3/4". By now a show-business star, Goodman signed for another label a few months later and in the following October made a sextet recording of a certain "Flying Home", with a young man by the name of Charlie Christian in the ranks. But that's another story !
The prinicipal feature of these "Black and White" double-album reissues of Benny Goodman's small-group sessions is that they present in chronological order not only every title as originally released, but also all the alternative takes, which for the most part have remained unknown until now. Altogether there are twelve alternative versions, different in tempo and improvisation, extending right through from the first to the final sessions. The class of the musicians involved meant that there was rarely need for more than two takes of any number. Irrespective of the version finally selected for release, we have the opportunity here of discovering that the choice must have been extremely difficult, even at times purely arbitrary ; for the quality of the rejected performances is not noticeably inferior. Most of these extra takes have been drawn straight from the RCA/Victor archives in the USA and have never previously been issued. The only alternative versions hitherto be published in France are the first takes of "Stompin' at the Savoy" and "I'm a Ding Dong Daddy", which were both included in vol. 10 of the "Black and White" Benny Goodman series, entitled "Echoes From the Swing Era", on French RCA FXM1 7083.
The Benny Goodman trio/Quartet/Quintet did a total of eighteen sessions, and these "Jazz Tribune" vol. 1/2 include exactly half of them. They provide a faithfull reflection of these studio get-togethers, which produced such intimate, swinging music that some people have referred to it as chamber jazz. [...] There is no doubt that these combo sessions were relaxed and highly productive. In listening once again to the results, one realises from their diversity, vitality, eclecticism and spontaneity that they managed to remain absolutely unspoilt by the big, interfering hand of the system.
Pierre Lafargue, Jazz Hot (1980), from the booklet (English adaptation by Don Waterhouse)

Benny Goodman
The Complete Small Combinations
vol. 1/2
(July 13, 1935-July 30, 1937)


Cd. 1

1 After You've Gone [alt. take] (Creamer, Layton)  2:45
2 After You've Gone (Creamer, Layton)  2:43
3 Body and Soul (Eyton, Green, Heyman, Sour)  3:24
4 Body and Soul [alt. take] (Eyton, Green, Heyman, Sour)  3:23
5 Who ? (Harbach, Hammerstein II, Kern)  3:09
6 Someday, Sweetheart (Spikes, Spikes)  2:44
7 China Boy (Boutelje, Winfree)  2:26
8 More Than You Know (Eliscu, Rose, Youmans)  3:06
9 All My Life (Mitchell, Stept)  3:10
10 Oh, Lady Be Good (Gershwin, Gershwin)  2:57
11 Nobody's Sweetheart (Erdman, Kahn, Meyers, Schoebel)  2:42
12 Too Godd to Be True (Boland)  3:23
13 Moonglow (DeLange, Hudson, Mills)  3:22
14 Dinah (Akst, Lewis, Young)  2:40
15 Exactly Like You (Fields, McHugh)  3:15


Cd. 2

1 Vibraphone Blues (Hampton)  3:25
2 Sweet Sue, Just You (Harris, Young)  3:18
3 My Melancholy Baby (Burnett, Norton)  3:27
4 Tiger Rag (Da Costa, Edwards, LaRocca, Ragas, Sbarbaro, Shields)  3:23
5 Stompin' at the Savoy [alt. take] (Goodman, Razaf, Sampson, Webb)  3:15
6 Stompin' at the Savoy (Goodman, Razaf, Sampson, Webb)  2:49
7 Whispering (Coburn, Rose, Schoenberger)  3:24
8 Ida, Sweet as Apple Cider (Leonard, Munson)  3:46
9 Tea for Two (Caesar, Youmans)  3:07
10 Runnin' Wild (Gibbs, Grey, Wood)  2:38
11 Avalon Song [alt. take] (DeSylva, Jolson, Rose)  2:50
12 Avalon Song (DeSylva, Jolson, Rose)  2:48
13 Handful of Keys (Horwitz, Maltby, Waller)  2:23
14 Handful of Keys [alt. take] (Horwitz, Maltby, Waller)  2:31
15 The Man I Love (Gershwin, Gershwin)  3:26


[Cd. 1, #1-6] Benny Goodman Trio
Benny Goodman - cl
Teddy Wilson - p
Gene Krupa - dr
Recorded in New York ; July 13, 1935
[Cd. 1, # 7-8] Benny Goodman Trio
Same as above
Recorded in Chicago ; April 24, 1936
[Cd. 1, # 9] Helen Ward with Benny Goodman Trio
Same as above, except
Helen Ward - vc, is added
Same location & date as above
[Cd. 1, # 12] Helen Ward with Benny Goodman Trio
Same as above
Same location as above ; April 27, 1936
[Cd. 1, # 10 & 11] Benny Goodman Trio
Benny Goodman - cl
Teddy Wilson - p
Gene Krupa - dr
Same location & date as above
[Cd. 1, # 13, 14 ; Cd. 2, # 1] Benny Goodman Trio/Quartet
Same as above, except
Lionel Hampton - vb & vc [Cd. 1, # 15 & Cd. 2, # 1], is added
Recorded in Hollywood ; August 21, 1936 [Cd. 1, # 13] ; August 26, 1936 [Cd. 1, # 14 & 15 ; & Cd. 2, # 1]
[Cd. 2, # 2 & 3] Benny Goodman Quartet
Benny Goodman - cl
Lionel Hampton - vb
Teddy Wilson - p
Gene Krupa - dr
Recorded in New York ; November 18, 1936
[Cd. 2, # 4] Benny Goodman Trio
Same as above, except
Lionel Hampton - vb, is out
Recorded in New York ; December 2, 1936
[Cd. 2, # 5-15] Benny Goodman Quartet
Same as above, except
Lionel Hampton - vb, is added
Same location and date as above [Cd. 2, # 5-7] ; New York ; February 3, 1937 [Cd. 2, # 8-10] ; Hollywood ; July 30, 1937 [Cd. 2, # 11-15]


garcilasso said...

Muchas gracias, Leopold. Estos discos, de la RCA francesa llevaban largo tiempo fuera del alcance de los aficionados.
Ssludos y agradecimientos

zero said...

Thanks for the terrific BG posts. Nice to have all this material consolidated like this.

jose arboleda said...

Muchas gracias.

furnguy said...


Jazzsoulman said...

Thanks, this one saved my day

John said...

BG is always a treat. Love these early sides!!


tiritiuk said...

Many thanks, man!!

jazzcat1228 said...

Thank you, Mel! These small combo sides of BG are some great swinging stuff.

jazzcat1228 said...

I thanked Mel and I forgot to say thank you to Leopold. Thank you for posting these wonderful sets Leopold.

xxrebeldrumerxx said...


Pernath said...

Thanks Leo!
Could you please re-up this link?
Please, please...

deGallo said...

Thank you.

John Pickworth said...

Many thanks !

kristophermc28 said...

Oh yeah! Thanks Mel. I was worried that the Volume 3/4 set would live alone on my hard drive, lol.

ita diegues said...

Thank you Melanchthon.

Anonymous said...

You have an impeccable taste, Monsieur. You have made my day.

Melanchthon said...

Kovina Kris said...

Very cool to get the 1/2 volumes to go with the 3/4 vols that you posted recently. Thank you Mel!

numbernine said...

Thanks for volume 1 & 2, wonderful