Benny Goodman's Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert (Oxford Studies in Recorded Jazz)

Benny Goodman's Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert (Oxford Studies in Recorded Jazz)

Catherine Tackley

Language: English

Pages: 248

ISBN: 0195398319

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

On January 16, 1938 Benny Goodman brought his swing orchestra to America's venerated home of European classical music, Carnegie Hall. The resulting concert - widely considered one of the most significant events in American music history - helped to usher jazz and swing music into the American cultural mainstream. This reputation has been perpetuated by Columbia Records' 1950 release of the concert on LP. Now, in Benny Goodman's Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert, jazz scholar and musician Catherine Tackley provides the first in depth, scholarly study of this seminal concert and recording.
Combining rigorous documentary and archival research with close analysis of the recording, Tackley strips back the accumulated layers of interpretation and meaning to assess the performance in its original context, and explore what the material has come to represent in its recorded form. Taking a complete view of the concert, she examines the rich cultural setting in which it took place, and analyzes the compositions, arrangements and performances themselves, before discussing the immediate reception, and lasting legacy and impact of this storied event and album. As the definitive study of one of the most important recordings of the twentieth-century, Benny Goodman's Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert is a must-read for all serious jazz fans, musicians and scholars.

















the second half (Ziggy Elman on “Swingtime in the Rockies” and “Bei Mir Bist Du Schön”) (Howland 2009: 85). Goodman reserved his most spectacular act, “Sing, Sing, Sing,” for the penultimate slot on the bill, where Whiteman placed Rhapsody in Blue. A crucial difference is in the final act of the evening, where Gottlieb recommends a “showy” closing act and Whiteman had his arrangement of Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance. Instead, Goodman’s concert concluded with the relatively sweet “If Dreams

more detailed notes (Kolodin 1938b: 201). Although the program listing gave details of the numbers to be played by the small groups, this differed considerably from the pieces that were actually heard in the concert. In the first half, the Trio was scheduled to begin with “Tiger Rag,” but this was omitted. The Trio and Quartet performances in the second half show more drastic alteration of the printed program. “Who” and “Dinah” were both omitted, and the set instead began with “China Boy”;

results on record, particularly in relation to the drums. The Carnegie Hall performance of “Sensation Rag” presents an implicit critique of the ability of recordings to represent jazz performance through reintroducing elements associated with live performance of this music. The performance is considerably shorter than standard length for jazz performances based on the capacity of the recorded disc. The musicians introduce variation through improvisation, which was arguably better represented in

Gershwin and the first half of the Carnegie Hall concert concluded with “I Got Rhythm,” which Gershwin wrote for his musical Girl Crazy in 1930. Initially the song was recorded as a vocal number, and for two years even the most jazz-influenced versions included at least one vocal chorus. Red Nichols recorded “I Got Rhythm” in October 1930, just over a week after the opening night of Girl Crazy on Broadway. Nichols had put the pit band together for the show, including Goodman, who was freelancing

(1938: 11). Further to this, descriptions of the nervousness of the musicians from Hanscom and particularly Ewing, as she had backstage access, added to the sense of occasion for the majority who were reliant on the reportage as a basis for their perceptions of the event. The audience was inevitably, and perhaps unusually, a focus for the critics, as this was where any clash between genre and venue would be played out. Downes wrote: “We went to discover, a new, original, thrilling music. We

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