Benny Goodman's 31st volume in the Classics Chronological Series documents his stylistically diverse adventures as a Capitol recording artist with 22 titles resulting from eight different sessions that took place in New York and Los Angeles between August 11 and November 25, 1947. Jazz, like the careers of those who perform it, has never evolved in a precise and linear manner; while during this period Goodman was certainly incorporating progressive bop elements into his repertoire, he also continued his lifelong involvement with swing tropes and old-time melodies. "Nagasaki" and "Varsity Drag" are examples of old material interpreted with breathtaking modernity. The three sextet sessions reissued here feature xylo/vibraphonist Red Norvo and pianist Mel Powell. Guitarist Al Hendrickson, who specialized in pleasantly laid-back romantic vocals, is heard with both the sextet and the big band. On September 12, Goodman sat in with the Paul Weston orchestra for one of Irving Berlin's ultra-patriotic ditties entitled "The Freedom Train." This flag-waver, sung by Johnny Mercer, Peggy Lee, Margaret Whiting and a cheery vocal group known as the Pied Pipers, contains a set of lyrics that could easily have been misinterpreted by the House Un-American Activities Committee: "You can shout your anger from a steeple, you can shoot the system full of holes." (Try that one on J. Edgar Hoover.) Tracks 12 through 21 scale the action down to an intimate trio involving pianist Teddy Wilson and longtime Jimmie Lunceford drummer Jimmy Crawford.
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