With the exception of the final two titles, all of the music on this CD is from 1934, a period when Benny Goodman first formed his big band and appeared regularly on the Let's Dance radio series. Still virtually unknown to the general public, Goodman at 25 was ready for stardom, but the world was not quite yet ready for swing. The first four selections are from a fascinating combo date with the great tenor Coleman Hawkins and Mildred Bailey (who has vocals on three songs, including "Ol' Pappy" and "Emaline"). Another small-group session that features trombonist/singer Jack Teagarden and pianist Teddy Wilson precedes the Goodman Music Hall Orchestra's recordings for Columbia. The band is heard gradually developing their musical identity despite the lack of any major soloists other than the leader and (starting in November 1934) trumpeter Pee Wee Erwin. Helen Ward takes three vocals, and with "The Dixieland Band" in January 1935, the Goodman sound was almost together.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow
feat: Benny Goodman