Benny Goodman & His Orchestra

The Harry James Years, Vol. 1

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AllMusic Review by

This is a really cool mid-price collection, the first of two assembling all of the Goodman band's work with Harry James. There are 21 tracks, covering a 13-month period that saw the Goodman band at the peak of its personnel and popularity, every day breaking new ground for swing even as that music had already swept the country. And, as Loren Schoenberg points out in his superb notes, with Harry James in the lineup, the band had a trumpet man who could match Goodman himself, plus a drummer in Gene Krupa who kept the rhythm section tight. Most of this material ("Sing Sing Sing," etc.) has been out before somewhere, although it's been very carefully remastered here using the CEDAR system, placing it a cut above other reissues for sound quality. Additionally, there are three distinctly different, newly discovered outtakes of "Camel Hop" and "One O'Clock Jump," plus alternate takes on "Life Goes to a Party" and "Don't Be That Way." One couldn't pick better tracks to have become available in variant forms, representing the Goodman band at its most accessible and swinging.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 2:37
2 3:10
3 2:39 Amazon
4 3:27
5 3:00
6 4:01
7 4:39
8 3:09 Amazon
9 2:41 Amazon
10 2:24
11 3:06
12 3:33
13 2:57
14 2:45
15 2:38
16 3:04 Amazon
17 3:05 Amazon
18 3:17 Amazon
19 3:20 Amazon
20 3:13
21 3:11
blue highlight denotes track pick