Benny Goodman

Swing Era

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Benny Goodman's name is so prominent in the packaging of this Swing Era volume that one would expect that he'd be the performer with the lion's share of the space on it. In fact, he's only represented on the opening, in a film clip from the late '30s that also features Gene Krupa and Lionel Hampton, totalling less than ten percent of the DVD -- but considering how good the clip is, and that the rest of the disc is made up of material featuring Artie Shaw, Jack Teagarden, Jimmy Dorsey, and Hoagy Carmichael, all in their respective primes (i.e., mostly the late '30s), no one is getting cheated here. Almost everything here is lifted from vintage films, either features or shorts, and some of it -- most notably the Shaw sequence from Second Chorus -- has looked (but not sounded) better elsewhere, but it's still a lot of fun. The eight Dorsey numbers are priceless, showcasing what made his band tick, from his own daunting virtuosity to the beguiling vocals of Helen O'Connell, with Bob Eberle represented as well. Jack Teagarden and Hoagy Carmichael play together on "Two Sleepy People," which is almost worth the price of admission, especially as it leads into Meredith Blake's performance of "That's Right, I'm Wrong." Teagarden and his band also turn in a fast, Dixieland version of Richard Rodgers' waltz "Lover," among other treats; and, from the early '50s, they appear in tele-scriptions of "Basin Street Blues," among other songs. As with other releases in the Swing Era series from IDEM, the disc is playable on both sides, one mastered in PAL (i.e., the European video format) and the other in NTSC (the American format). The disc opens automatically to a simple, straightforward menu, and every song gets a chapter marker. Some of the footage in the 1930s material is damaged in spots, and the audio levels can be somewhat uneven, dropping in volume at one point, but this is still a highly worthwhile release

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1
2
3
feat: Artie Shaw
4
feat: Artie Shaw
5
feat: Artie Shaw
6
feat: Artie Shaw
7
feat: Artie Shaw
8
feat: Jimmy Dorsey
9
feat: Jimmy Dorsey
10
feat: Jimmy Dorsey
11
feat: Jimmy Dorsey
12
feat: Jimmy Dorsey
13
feat: Jimmy Dorsey
14
feat: Jimmy Dorsey
15
feat: Jimmy Dorsey
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
blue highlight denotes track pick