We don’t often use “Benny Goodman” and “New Orleans” in the same sentence, but this sublimely relaxed performance suggests we might have been wrong.
It’s reminiscent of the happy ease of the 1935 Trio, with a smooth rhythmic push throughout provided by Sid Weiss, string bass, and Morey Feld, drums. Benny and Teddy seem joyously in synch and free. The sound isn’t perfect but one’s ear gets used to it quickly.
Deep Goodman collectors no doubt know this music, but it hasn’t been issued in any commercial form that I know of. And it’s a consistent pleasure, free from the demands of the recording studio.
Municipal Auditorium, New Orleans, “National Jazz Foundation,” WWL radio broadcast: LIMEHOUSE BLUES / EMBRACEABLE YOU / AFTER YOU’VE GONE / BODY AND SOUL / ‘WAY DOWN YONDER IN NEW ORLEANS / ROSE ROOM / THE WORLD IS WAITING FOR THE SUNRISE / HALLELUJAH! / THE MAN I LOVE / BOOGIE WOOGIE / HONEYSUCKLE ROSE / ON THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET //
My tape copy is from the collection of the late John L. Fell; audio limitations are to be expected: acetates transferred to magnetic tape of unknown generations from the original.
And since so much conversation about Benny is detached from his music, let me urge you to put the mocking anecdotes aside and just bask in the sounds: the melodic fluidity, the rhythmic ease, the masterful playfulness. I propose that those qualities are more important than whether Benny forgot someone’s name.
This post is for Alessandro King and Nathan Tokunaga, both of whom understand Benny in deep ways.
May your happiness increase!