Category: Swingscapes

The “Birth” of the Swing Era–Part 1-“I Got Rhythm” (1935) Benny Goodman

“I Got Rhythm” Composed by George Gershwin; arranged by Fletcher Henderson. Recorded by Benny Goodman and His Orchestra live from the NBC “Let’s Dance” radio show of May 4, 1935. Benny Goodman, clarinet, directing: George “Pee Wee” Erwin, Ralph Muzzillo, Jerry Neary, trumpets; Jack Lacey and Sterling “Red” Ballard, trombones; Nuncio “Toots” Mondello, Hymie Shertzer, […]

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“With a Little Help from My Friends” (1969) Count Basie

“With a Little Help From My Friends” Composed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney; arranged by Bob Florence. Recorded by Count Basie and His Orchestra on December 15, 1969 for Happy Tiger Records in New York. William J. “Count” Basie, piano, directing: Eugene Coe, George “Sonny” Cohn, Luis Gasca, Waymon Reed, trumpets; Grover Mitchell, Melvin […]

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“Cherry” (1937 and 1941) Benny Goodman

The Ripening of “Cherry” “Cherry” Composed by Don Redman; arranged by Jimmy Mundy. Recorded by Benny Goodman and His Orchestra from a CBS radio sustaining broadcast October 27,1937, Madhattan Room, Hotel Pennsylvania, New York City. Benny Goodman, clarinet, directing: Harry James, first trumpet; Ziggy Elian, Chris Griffin, trumpets; Red Ballard and Vernon Brown, trombones; Hymie Shertzer, […]

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“Manhattan” (1950) Lee Wiley

(This is the second installment in the ongoing Rodgers and Hart celebration here at swingandbeyond.com.) The story: Lee Wiley, born October 9, 1908 in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, and died December 11, 1975 in New York City, was a pioneering American jazz singer. After short period of study in Tulsa, Oklahoma she went to New York City to begin a career […]

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“Chelsea Bridge” Billy and Billy (Strayhorn and May)

They both grew up in Pittsburgh at the same time, the 1920s and 1930s, and knew each other. They were about the same age. But they were very different people. One was big and boisterous; the other was small and quiet. One spoke the rough argot of a Pittsburgh steelworker; the other was soft-spoken, articulate, […]

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“John Silver” grows up — Jimmy Dorsey 1938/1944

James Francis Dorsey was the older of the Dorsey brothers, and the smaller, in terms of both physical stature and ego. He was a master musician whose virtuosity on both clarinet and alto saxophone was a source of fascination and inspiration for reed players far and wide, including jazz titans Lester Young and Charlie Parker. […]

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