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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Benny Goodman and the All Stars
in Berlin 1958-59




Don’t Be That Way
Flying Home
Roll ‘Em - Boogie Woogie – vocal: Jimmy Rushing

Benny Goodman (clarinet): Taft Jordan, John Frosk, EV Perry, Billy Hodges (trumpets): Rex Peer, Vernon Brown, Willie Dennis (trombones): Ernie Mauro, Al Block (alto saxophones): Zoot Sims, Seldon Powell (tenor saxophones): Gene Allen (baritone saxophone): Roland Hanna (piano): Billy Bauer (guitar): Arvell Shaw (bass): Roy Barnes (drums)

Recorded Berlin, 10 May 1958

Airmail Special
Gotta Be This Or That - vocal: Anita O’Day
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Go Margot Go
Get Happy
Raising the Riff
Billies Bounce
Ten Bone

Honeysuckle Rose - vocal: Anita O’Day
Slipped Disc
Breakfast Feud
I Want To be Happy

When You’re Smiling
Rachel’s Dream
Four Brothers - vocal: Anita O’Day
Jam On The Brakes
Crazy Riff
Ooh Hot Dog/Let Me Off Uptown - vocals: Anita O’Day with Jack Sheldon
Medley: Let’s Dance/Stomping At The Savoy/Sunnyside Of The Street/Rose Room/Moonglow
Sing, Sing, Sing

Benny Goodman (clarinet): Jack Sheldon (trumpet): Bill Harris (trombone): Jerry Dodgion (alto saxophone): Flip Phillips (tenor saxophone): Red Norvo (vibes): Russ Freeman (piano): Jimmy Wyble (guitar): Red Wootten (drums): and Big Band

Recorded Berlin, 22 October 1959 [67:31 + 54:51]

Benny Goodman’s recordings in Berlin in 1958-59 were recorded onto acetates. Things were by no means perfect as unfavourable microphone placements bedevil a couple of tracks but restoration work has gone on and the concerts are reproduced to as reasonable a degree as one could expect. Goodman’s intros have been excised. The majority of the two discs is given over to the All Stars concert of 22 October 1959. The first three tracks – only – feature the Big Band. These are useful adjuncts to other examples of the band. It’s good to hear Taft Jordan soloing as well as the deft pianism of Roland Hanna, and it’s always good to hear Jimmy – the discography scrubs up and prefers the surely too-formal ‘James’ – Rushing doing his blues shouting stuff on Roll ‘em.

But the meat is the smaller band, which features Flip Phillips, Bill Harris, Jack Sheldon, Red Norvo, Anita O’Day and several others. The repertoire is tried and tested and the technical level high. Goodman solos throughout with that personalised tone of his and proves a formidable leader, blues-drenched altoist Jerry Dodgion makes his mark on Go Margot Go, a tune that incorporates Tiny’s Blues, and Russ Freeman stretches out pretty much solo on Billie’s Bounce. Phillips isn’t above mining the cruder elements of JATP with his roistering grandstanding on Goodman’s tune Ten Bone, but the house certainly loved it. O’Day sings with effortless fluidity on Honeysuckle Rose and Four Brothers, Sheldon dons the mute for a laid-back Chicagoan Breakfast Feud and there are some vivacious, catchy vibes and tumbling clarinet figures on Rachel’s Dream. This is another BG tune and leads to the thought that Goodman has been somewhat underestimated as a composer. There’s a bit of feedback on Jimmy Wyble’s guitar soloing on Crazy Riff – a fast and wailing opus. O’Day and Sheldon swap witty asides on Ooh Hot Dog/Let Me Off Uptown before the finale, a medley of Goodman favourites.

There are two-page notes and a discography. This is a useful twofer, caveats noted.

Jonathan Woolf

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