This CD reissues the first 22 selections led by Benny Goodman, spanning a three-year period when the clarinetist developed into a greatly in-demand studio musician during the Depression. The first ten titles feature him in hot, small groups with the likes of cornetist Jimmy McPartland, trombonist Glenn Miller, trumpeter Wingy Manone, and tenor saxophonist Bud Freeman. Included is "Wolverine Blues," "Jungle Blues" (during which Benny Goodman takes his only recorded trumpet solo), the satirical "Shirt Tail Stomp" (which makes fun of cornball bands), and a pair of trio features ("That's a Plenty" and "Clarinetitis"), recorded seven years before the Benny Goodman Trio debuted. The remaining dozen numbers, from 1930-1931, are strictly dance band performances with an emphasis on melodies and dull vocals (mostly by Scrappy Lambert and Paul Small) and only a few short spots for solos.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow