Benny Goodman

Legendary Benny Goodman

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Released by Columbia Special Products back in 1981, this five-LP box set contains an excellent cross-section of Benny Goodman's recordings for Columbia, dating from 1939-42, 1945-46 and a few tracks from 1950-51. Since CBS has never reissued BG's recordings in full, this sampler (which has become hard to find) is the best set from this era put out to date, tracing the evolution of Benny Goodman through his second great band (including a few tracks by the Sextet with guitarist Charlie Christian) to some of the clarinetist's first post-war recordings and a few performances where, instead of being the pacesetter, he was looked upon as a nostalgia act. Throughout BG plays quite well and, even with only five selections to a side (for a total of around 150 minutes on the five LPs) this box is worth bidding for.