Benny Goodman has been viewed with such prejudice — as a selfish eccentric, a musician devoid of originality, a great “popularizer” of other people’s ideas, a wealthy Caucasian exploiter — that it is time, once again, to listen to what he could create. Notice the beautifully rounded sound, the easy phrasing, the lyricism (on what is not exactly harmonically demanding material), the graceful swing. . . . years before he was named the King of that same cultural phenomenon.
The record is WHAT A DAY! by Carl Fenton’s Orchestra (I suspect that other fine New York studio musicians are playing in the uncredited personnel here) — an unexceptional song with unambitious lyrics sung by Eddy Thomas. But listen to our Benny and consider the beauty of what he tosses off so lightly.
This record (and so many others) is the gracious gift of “Atticus70,” the very generous collector-scholar Emrah Erken, whose other fancy is the great beauties of the silent film:
And Happy Christmas, as they say in the UK and Ireland, to all!