This is the last in the series of CDs which were made possible when Goodman gave his collection of private recordings to Yale University. It was Loren Schoenburg who wended his way through this mass of material, to produce the five double albums of BG's work which are now available to us on Nimbus Records. I have them all, and all those of us who loved the great days of the big bands owe a great debt of gratitude for what he describes in the sleeve notes as his labour of love.
There are personnel details given, but the comprehensive sleeve notes identify the majority of the soloists. These records are taken from NBC broadcasts of the band over the period 1936 to 1943.
Eddie Sauter was the arranger of many of the scores that the band played here. Eddie was well ahead of his time where big band charts were concerned and his work becomes self-evident. Helen Forrest was the band vocalist at this time and several of the tracks feature her.
By 1943 a teenage saxophone player called Zoot Sims had joined the band, at the start of what was to be a top-notch career as a jazz soloist with many bands, as well as his own small groups.
CD2 contains some of the last recordings Goodman made with a band that included Ken Peplowski on tenor and Louie Bellson on drums.
Throughout, the listener is aware of just what a great clarinet player and all-round bandleader Benny Goodman was. If it were not for these records being made available by Nimbus, we would have missed some of his best work, the work of a uniquely talented clarinet player, a one-off!
Don Mather, Musicweb-international.