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On the Air (1937-1938)

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Album Review

This two-CD set was originally issued as a deluxe multi-disc set in Columbia's Masterwork series and was intended as a companion piece to Goodman's best-selling Live at Carnegie Hall, a record so successful that it was parceled out by Columbia in as many piecemeal configurations and vinyl speed formats as is imaginable. Mainly pulled from Goodman's appearances on the Camel Caravan radio show, these capture the swing band of the era in its defining moment, blowing audiences away on a night to night basis in a variety of locales. Carefully edited (radio broadcasts could often have announcer's remarks annoyingly inserted in the middle of performances), the sound is far cleaner than the majority of bootlegs from the same time frame. With plenty of brilliant soloing from Goodman, Harry James, Ziggy Elman, and a brace of trio and quartet sides featuring Teddy Wilson and Lionel Hampton, with Gene Krupa power-housing everything he touches, this is the swing era in all its glory. If you have the Carnegie Hall set and a good sampling of the Victor-era sides, this is your next stop.


Born: 30 May 1909 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Benny Goodman was the first celebrated bandleader of the Swing Era, dubbed "The King of Swing," his popular emergence marking the beginning of the era. He was an accomplished clarinetist whose distinctive playing gave an identity both to his big band and to the smaller units he led simultaneously. The most popular figure of the first few years of the Swing Era, he continued to perform until his death 50 years later. Goodman was the son of Russian immigrants David Goodman, a tailor, and Dora Rezinsky...
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