You can't tell from the album cover or the annotations, but this import CD presents 22 recordings from an eight-month period in Benny Goodman's career, December 1940-August 1941, which were originally released on Columbia Records. This was not among the most commercially successful time for Goodman, and the compilers have avoided what hits there were, but there are some strong instrumental works, such as leadoff track "Clarinet A La King" and the Goodman composition "Gilly" (performed by a sextet featuring Charlie Christian and Cootie Williams). Half the tracks have vocals by Helen Forrest, plus two, "My Old Flame" and "Elmer's Tune," by Peggy Lee. Some good music is included, but the selections and sequencing are hard to fathom, and one wonders why no sense is given of the time period from which the recordings come or of any historical context.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann