April 2002 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Together Again: The Benny Goodman Quartet  
  Benny Goodman; Lionel Hampton; Gene Krupa; and Teddy Wilson
  BMG RCA Victor 09026638812 [41:19]  

Benny Goodman

[American clarinettist and bandleader Benny Goodman, and his band, appeared in a number of films from 1938 through the '40s including Hollywood Hotel, The Gang's All Here and Sweet and Lowdown. He provided the music for The Benny Goodman Story (1955) in which he was portrayed by Steve Allen]

This album sparkles with the intensity of the jazz performed.

After having listened to it two or three times I found that it was impossible to distinguish between the quality of the tracks. To my mind they were all classically put together and brilliantly executed, with Benny himself taking the, obviously, leading role in the whole kit and caboodle.

The individual tracks are like little masterpieces of their own, moving almost seamlessly into each other, and I find it difficult to judge them separately, so I won't.

As an album, per se, Back Together Again is a symphony of classic jazz. The music and swing beat are evocative of a smoky club or a modern stage. Benny Goodman's clarinet pierces each and every track and left me feeling like one of the rats following the pied piper of Hamlin - entranced and captivated..

Gene Krupa's drum ensembles and high tempo background beats, with a particularly great use of the cymbals, were the perfect foil for the remainder of the quartet, legends Lionel Hampton and Teddy Wilson, who clearly have been missing each other over the years and were eager to pick up where they left off in 1936! This they achieved in wonderful style a bit like listening to the jazz 'Olympics' of its day.

Check out all the tracks before making up your own mind, but give yourself some easy time to get acquainted with this jazz pearl.

Jonathan Clark


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