It's easy to understand why Benny Goodman's recordings were so popular during the 1940s. The music was uplifting, the orchestra ran like a top, the leader was an exceptionally fine clarinetist, and he regularly employed pop vocalists with varying degrees of jazz ability, represented here by Jane Harvey, Bob Hayden, Kay Penton, and Dottie Reid. From the jazz head's point of view, this segment of the Goodman chronology is greatly enhanced by the presence of trombonist Trummy Young on all of the big-band tracks. Furthermore, Fletcher Henderson wrote the arrangements for "It's Only a Paper Moon" and "You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me." On the initial recording of Sunny Skylar's swanky "Gotta Be This or That," Goodman shared the vocal with Jane Harvey. The well-known two-part master take was sung by Goodman alone with a Red Norvo vibe solo and a brief episode for bowed bass and voice by Slam Stewart, whose every passage was mimicked vocally by Kay Penton and members of the band. A previously unreleased take, featuring a trombone solo and smooth vocal by Trummy Young, swings for five frowsy minutes and tapers off suddenly as the engineer runs out of room on the record. There are five excellent instrumental tracks on this compilation. Two sides played by the Sextet feature Teddy Wilson, Slam Stewart, and Red Norvo. Entrusted with the tasks of composing and arranging for the large ensemble, Mel Powell devised an intricate feature for Goodman's clarinet and called it "Clarinade"; this package contains a V-Disc version and the familiar Columbia take. The other big-band instrumental is a gorgeous rendition of "Love Walked In" arranged by Eddie Sauter.
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