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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke




 

TOGETHER AGAIN!

The BENNY GOODMAN Quartet

RCAVICTOR Gold Series 09026638812

 

Crotchet midprice 



 

  1. Seven Come Eleven
  2. Say it Isn’t So
  3. I Found a New Baby
  4. Somebody Loves me
  5. Who Cares
  6. Runnin’ Wild
  7. I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good
  8. Dearest
  9. I’ll get By
  10. Four Once More

Benny Goodman – Clarinet, Teddy Wilson – Piano, Lionel Hampton – Vibraharp, Gene Krupa – Drums

Originally released as an LP with the same Name on RCA Victor.

Benny Goodman was a very important figure in the development of jazz. As well as having the ability to improvise and swing on any theme, he had a classical training and was able, because of his virtuoso skills on the instrument, to brilliantly execute them. He also had the disciplinary skill of the straight musician and was therefore very much a ‘no-nonsense’ bandleader. He also had the courage to employ outstanding black musicians in his band long before this became the accepted norm in the USA and benefited greatly from their presence.

This 1963 session was something of a reunion bringing together the original Goodman Quartet, which first appeared 25 years earlier. During that 25 years the musicians present had lost none of their skills. Lionel Hampton has never been equalled as a Vibes player. I have never heard a ‘Hamp’ session that didn’t swing, he is one of the most exciting musicians that jazz has ever produced. Teddy Wison is greatly under-rated by most people; he also had a superb technique and an immediately recognisable style. Gene Krupa is that rare commodity, an outstanding drummer as happy driving along a big band as here, playing in a quartet. I can never understand why Goodman did not use a Bass player on these or his trio recordings. Having the piano playing the bass line does not give the lift of a double bass player, even if Teddy Wilson is the pianist!

The album starts and finishes with two Benny Goodman originals, ‘Seven Come Eleven’ and ‘Four Once More’. On quite a number of the tracks Teddy Wilson provides beautifully constructed unaccompanied solos. Lionel Hampton is his usual effervescent self throughout, whether soloing or playing riffs in the background, he is always building excitement. My two favourite tracks are ‘I found a New Baby’ and ‘Runnin’ Wild’ both show Goodman’s superb technique and improvisational abilities off to perfection.

It is in a way surprising that the playing of all these jazz giants had changed so little in 25 years, but it is after all a reunion album!

Don Mather



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