The Columbia and OKeh Benny Goodman Orchestra Sessions (#240)

Benny Goodman was a complex individual - driven, extremely competitive, at times aloof, absent minded. Yet whether he was rehearsing or performing, his attention was continually focused on music. Music that transcended whatever idiosyncrasies he had. His upbringing as a youngster in Chicago was less than ideal, but it no doubt drove him to be a success. And like many of his musical peers - the Dorseys, Bunny Berigan, Joe Venuti, Mannie Klein, etc - his work ethic, God given talent and genius kept him a rich man during the economic struggles of the 1930s.

Once he had put together the band he felt was a winning combination, it wasn’t long before success on radio, records and film were there for him. He was not an easy man to work for and the stories that have been handed down from his sidemen, vocalists and others associated with him professionally, read like a comic-tragedy. But from the time he began his professional career in the mid to late 1920s on through to his death in 1986, he was worshipped by an adoring public.

He was born to be a leader, not a sideman the rest of his life and because of this vision he not only became a superb jazz improviser but a household name who literally ushered in a new genre of popular music and art form. He was and is an icon.

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