This volume in the complete recordings of Benny Goodman examines a decidedly transitional period during which the clarinetist recorded with his trio, quartet, quintet, and orchestra. One of Goodman's biggest wartime hits was Mel Powell's big-band adaptation of Joe McCoy's "Why Don't You Do Right?" This 1942 recording featured Peggy Lee imitating every nuance of Afro-American vocalist Lil Green's version from 1941. Lee's impersonation of Green is so thorough as to be embarrassing. Most people who heard the cover were unaware of the original and marveled at how worldly the white girl managed to sound. With the exception of several fine instrumentals including "After You've Gone" (arranged by Fletcher Henderson), Richard Maltby's "Six Flats Unfurnished," and Mel Powell's zippy "Mission to Moscow," Benny Goodman's orchestra spent most of the summer of 1942 recording ballads and sugary pop tunes with vocals by Peggy Lee, Dick Haymes, and Buzz Alston. Interrupted by the AFM recording ban, the Goodman discography resumes in the middle of October 1943 with a solid rendition of "Three Little Words" played by Goodman, Jess Stacy, Allan Reuss, Sid Weiss, and Gene Krupa. This lively jam initiated a long series of Goodman V-Discs intended for use by Armed Forces personnel. Tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims shows up in the reed section of the Goodman orchestra on "Dinah" (with a vocal by Goodman!) and the invigorating "Henderson Stomp." The trio also hammered out a smart "Limehouse Blues." Goodman managed a couple of sides in February of 1944 but didn't get back in the saddle until June with quartet and trio sessions featuring Teddy Wilson, Sid Weiss, Cozy Cole, and Gordon "Specs" Powell.
by arwulf arwulf