This is the 34th volume in the Classics Benny Goodman chronology. It combines four titles from the Capitol records session of October 27, 1949 (Goodman's last for that label) with seven tunes recorded for Columbia on October 10 and November 24, 1950 and ten previously hard-to-find selections from a broadcast that aired April 1, 1951. Although the band on the Capitol date had Zoot Sims in the reed section, slick vocals by Dolly Houston, Buddy Greco and the Heathertones seem to use up all the air in the room. The Columbia sessions employed the Goodman Sextet, featuring pianist Teddy Wilson, vibraphonist Terry Gibbs and guitarist Johnny Smith, these last two helping to emphasize a contemporary bop-to-cool stylistic emphasis that was still playing a prominent role in Goodman's approach to music during this period. Vocalists on this leg of the journey include Nancy Reed, a carefully rehearsed, mixed vocal group known as the Pastels, and a deep-voiced male singer billed as "Rickey." This was none other than Jimmy Ricks, bass singer for the Ravens. Issued as Columbia 39121, the two instrumentals -- "Lullaby of the Leaves" b/w "Temptation Rag" -- are stunning examples of the Goodman/Gibbs collaboration at its finest. Yet the real gold in this compilation lies in the ten more traditional jazz melodies that were performed on the air, recorded and sold on a limited-edition LP in order to raise funds to benefit Fletcher Henderson, Goodman's greatest arranger as well as a pioneer of big-band jazz, who made his first jazz recordings in 1923. Henderson was ill and in serious need of cash. The fact that Goodman held this exciting jam session as a benefit for him adds considerable ethical ballast to an already superb bundle of live jazz. Teaming with Goodman in various combinations throughout the session were pianist Teddy Wilson, drummer Gene Krupa, bassist Eddie Safranski, guitarist Johnny Smith, trombonist Lou McGarity and trumpeter Buck Clayton.
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