1. Always * 2. Ballad in Blue * 3. You Turned the Tables On Me * 4. You’re a Heavenly Thing * 5. Did You Mean It? *
6. Sometimes I’m Happy * 7. Keep Me In Mind * 8. Behave Yourself * 9. Shirley Steps Out * 10. Don’t Be That Way * 11. Take Another Guess * 12. I Had To Do It * 13. These Foolish Things (Remind Me Of You) * 14. Gotta Be This or That * 15. Goodnight, My Love
Arbors Records Inc. : ARCD 19339
2189 Cleveland Street, Suite 225, Clearwater, FL, USA
Recorded September 12 and 13 2006 at the Nola Studio NYC
Other John Sheridan Dream Band recordings are:
Easy As It Gets, Get Rhythm In Your Feet and Make Me Dream Some More
I’d been longing to get hold of a recording by pianist John Sheridan for some time, and, when he brought this his latest album to the August 2007 Nairn International Jazz Festival in Scotland, I jumped at the opportunity to buy it, and without reference to its title did so with the sole intension of listening to his piano playing after the Summer jazz festival rounds had exhausted.
It was a very pleasant surprise when I turned to it during the October days to find that his CD is complete with tunes that had been recorded by clarinettist Benny Goodman and his various groups, thus taking me back to the dance and swing period of the 30s that I enjoyed so much in my youth in dance on the floors of the Hammersmith Palais-de-dance, the Streatham Locarno and further a field in the late 40s of London, England.
This John Sheridan album, “Swing Is Still The King” includes 11 Benny Goodman tunes that were recorded by his swing groups between 1935-38, classed the “Swing Era”; including Don’t Be That Way as a trio on the first number along with the others in the famous Benny Goodman
Carnegie Hall concert held on the 16th of January 1938, and, I Had To Do It recorded in October in Chicago the same year inclusive with
Harry James, Jess Stacy and singer Martha Tilton among twenty or so musicians in the band line-up as was the practise in those days – with 4 further tunes included in Dream Band album such as Gotta Be This or That cut in 1944; Keep Me In Mind; Behave Yourself and Shirley Steps Out, all three recorded in 1947 the Goodman small groups period when he started to take an interest in Bebop, and in 1949 ending his interest in it.
Rebecca Kilgore sings on nine of the total fifteen songs and she steps out of taking on Shirley Steps Out – so, I jive as I listen - non-bebop style, to
it - John Sheridan sings to great effect as per intonations of either Hoagy or Benny on I Had To Do It - the three opening tunes inclusive are without vocalists, plus Sometimes I'm Happy, which Eve Young sings on the NYC 1946 sextet recording of it with Joe Bushkin soloing on piano - so totalling fifteen Dream Band tunes.
The trio, it has been read, comprised of Benny Goodman clarinet, Teddy Wilson on piano, and Gene Krupa on drums, and so on, increasing the combos to orchestras with Lionel Hampton on vibes, and Charlie Christian on guitar etc, etc to many more.
That Sunday evening in January 1938 mentioned above, the publicity value was incalculable as being the first concert of swing music – the first jazz concert held in the classical Carnegie Hall or, any other of its kind that set Benny Goodman on his way to make his first million dollars.
“The Jess Stacy piano solo on Sing Sing Sing was terrific, the Harry James trumpet solo on Louis Armstrong’s Shine was said to be frantic,
Bobby Hackett’s recreation of the Bix Beiderbecke I’m Coming Virginia number, delightful” – it did not matter what the classical music critics thought – “swing is today the most widespread artistic medium of emotional expression”, the last quote was from the New York Times.
In 1925 American musicians were barred from Europe and ten years later they were banned from playing in England until after WWII except for vaudeville sets, that is, it was the year that Benny Goodman of King Porter Stomp and Bugle Call Rag fame with his Rhythm Makers - featuring among others, a good jazz very fine New York studio trombonist named Jack Lacy, whose solo on Horace Henderson’s “Always” was said to be his best - that Goodman was 26 years old, the youngest bandleader in the U.S.A.
In 1946, Metronome reported “The King of Swing Abdicates” but there were those who differed noting that the arrangements turned out by pianist Mel Powel such as Clarinade in E Major were to Goodman’s advantage, but then why was he remaking Sometimes I’m Happy (see above) that had pianist Joe Buskin transcribed in New York City on the 18th of July 1946, and also You Turned The Tables On Me transcribed in Hollywood in the 10th of March 1947 that had Jess Stacy on piano and singer Beryl Davis - were being questioned.
Ballroom dancing to large indigenous bands kept going until well into the 50s in England – I remember them well.
A great deal has been written about Benny Goodman, and of his music – well, I’m sure that that will be heard and listened to in variations for decades to come.
QUOTES - “Benny Goodman left Ben Pollack in 1929, prohibition ended in 1933, Benny moves into Billy Rose’s Music Hall in 1934 with 500 recordings being cut under different names and his music for dancing was being heard on radio broadcasts at a well known Manhattan Supper Club to the likes of the popular Music Hall Rag and Night Wind sung by Helen Ward, among them that turned out to be good, and a good period for Goodman, not overlooking Edgar Sampson’s Stompin’ at the Savoy.‘
...Benny had a half-century career as bandleader and employed more top class jazz musicians than anyone else including Basie and Ellington.’
...in April 1935, Fletcher Henderson's You’re a Heavenly Thing was the only recording to include Jack Teagarden as he was with the
Paul Whiteman band at the time.’
...Down Beat – on Goodman’s Let’s Dance band “Benny’s performance is magnificent”.’
…in Spring 1935, Willard Alexander set up a tour ending at the new Palomar dance hall in Los Angeles – the hall was packed out.’
…..the impassioned voice of singer Helen Ward of These Foolish Things one of Benny’s favoured long list of singers. She left the band at
the end of 1936 to get married.’
.....in January 1938, the New York Times wrote “It is hardly an exaggeration to say that swing is today the most widespread artistic medium of popular emotional expression”.’
.....When the Goodman band was at the top of its popularity he started to reduce the time-spans of his solo spots in favour of increasing singer
Martha Tilton’s over the two-year period when Loch Lomond was her long running recording classic.’
.....he would constantly be accenting on the second half of the beat – John Bunch, long-time pianist with Benny who was a member of the
Goodman 1962 Russian tour band.’
…Sometimes I’m Happy was Bunny Berigan’s best solo with Goodman.’" END QUOTES
For further reading of Benny Goodman, please click on the link at the end of this review. Among others the album includes the young Goodman
with Ben Selvin and his Orchestra. On the late 1920s jazz note the Dut, Dut, Dut-da Goodman style on “Clarinetitis” and “After You’ve Gone”.
The opening number Always (I‘ll be loving you…) is always in mind and, what inspires me about it here is that one can distinctly hear the
melody of the words being played by the Phil Flanigan string bass on his solo break.
Add the next two tunes Ballad In Blue and You Turned The Tables on Me to it, and, there we have a presentation not having vocals on them, a portend foretelling that swing music has a dimension to be aware of becoming a reality of popularity in the years that lie ahead.
The beautiful Ballad In Blue would have a Benny Goodman "stare" being classed as one of amazing crediting for the clarinettist Ron Hockett's interpretation of the tune by his very fine playing. Goodman's alleged personality surely would not have been expressive of a jazz artist's music.
There is but two, indeed, not more openings of the numbers on the album taken by pianist John Sheridan, but his playing throughout is distinctive – so that as if to say - this is it, it’s how it obtains good swing effect done this way, and, judging by the professionally spirited mood and adroitness of his sidemen’s playing know-how – the sound is joyfully as concurred.
Clarinettist Benny Goodman was the prominent instrumentalist in creating the swing movement of his groups. Here in the John Sheridan
Dream Band it is the rhythm section of himself, guitarist Eddie Erickson, drummer Jake Hanna's cymbals and the string bass man that is creating it.
The band has a fine-tuned mix of 1930s swing, dance and big-band-orchestra styled tunes, the latter is with Gotta Be This or That and
I Had to Do It running through them.
I can recall my ballroom days when singers were indispensable members of the band. The nasal sounding voices and attractive presentations were stable diet for couples performing good rhythm foot-work expressions. The band’s front line skills in complementing vocalists were a vital part in that process. The Dream Band has seven of them.
In those far off days the last dance was something special and the sultry, provocative mood of the vocalist was captivating.
The songs Keep Me in Mind, Don’t Be That Way and These Foolish Things sung by Rebecca Kilgore aided by the beautifully toned trombone
voice of Dan Barrett fall in line of that fashion with an enjoyably moving sensual lilt runing through her singing
The three last mentioned tracks come close to the ‘come to bed’ climax one – in a manner of speaking of musicianship that is passionately played with grace and beauty by these jazz-swing artists, as was come to be expected back in those romantic, close embracing 1930s last-dance dancing days music, that is to say, commensurate with the evocative voice of this ten-piece Dream Band vocalist Rebecca Kilgore that has a strong desiring pull to it that can come to slumbering fruition, owing to her seductive singing, particularly so on this Benny Goodman tune - “Goodnight, My Love”.
Kings Jazz Review