By the time he was twenty-four, Goodman had formed the first of his many bands. A prodigy who had played professionally since age 12, the clarinetist and bandleader influenced popular culture in ways few of his contemporaries did; indeed, it's no wonder he was dubbed, "The Kind of Swing."
BENNY GOODMAN'S GREATEST HITS, spans the golden age of swing, from 1938 to 1945 and beyond. Though Goodman was continually restocking his band with new talent, his handpicked ensemble never sounded degenerated or careworn. In all of his bands, the brass bit, the reeds swung with a choirlike unity, and the taut rhythm section rendered a sharp, cohesive base, shaped distinctly by drummer Gene Krupa. Goodman's own quicksilver technique and ivory tone always added the final (and secret) ingredients to the music. This is especially apparent on classic charts such as, "Air Mail Special" and "Jersey Bounce." Moreover, on "Sing, Sing, Sing," we hear Krupa roaring with energy, and Goodman himself playing an exotic and playful clarinet solo. In summary, this greatest hits album is a thorough survey of the late swing monarch.