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Reviews: Benny Goodman and His Orchestra: Let's Dance

The MHS Review 398 VOL. 12, NO.2 • 1988

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Brian Murphy, The Green CD Catalog (March/April 1987)


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Let's Dance; Don't Be That Way; You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me; King Porter Stomp; (I Would Do Most) Anything for You; (The) Blue Room; Down South Camp Meetin'; Stealin' Apples; Goodbye. Benny Goodman, Clarinet; Louie Bellson, Drums; Paul Cohen, Laurie Frink, John Eckert, Randy Sandke, Trumpets; Matt Finders, Eddie Bert, Bobby Pring, Trombones; Chuck Wilson, Jack Stuckey, Alto saxophones; Ken Peplowski, Loren Schoenberg, Tenor saxophones; Dick Hyman, Piano; James Chirillo, Guitar; Bob Haggart, Bass.

The first track, Benny Goodman's signature song, "Let's Dance," is a one-minute teaser, but the second track, "Don't Be That Way," demonstrates that Goodman at age 76 hadn't lost his edge. His solos on "You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me" are as good an example of instrumental perfection as you'll ever hear, but his work on "The Blue Room" is phenomenal. His playing is elegant, smooth, charmingly casual, and hot.

Goodman frequently stands back and lets his orchestra and soloists cook. Dick Hyman, one of the most elegant exponents of jazz piano, solos superbly on "You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me,'' and on a lively version of Fats Waller's ''Stealin' Apples." Another high point is "King Porter Stomp," which includes standout solos by Ken Peplowski on tenor sax and John Eckert on trumpet. The orchestra swings with "(I Would Do Most) Anything for You" and really heats up on "Down South Camp Meetin'." The ensemble is tight, sharp, and right on the money on every track.

The date closes with ''Goodbye," a sad and mellow track that Goodman carries pretty much on his own. It is a beautiful and bittersweet farewell to the King of Swing.

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