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Monday, September 6, 2021

Happy Session - Benny Goodman


Having A Ball

Happy Session
Benny Goodman and His Orchestra
Featuring Andre Previn and Russ Freeman
Produced by Park Recording Company
Columbia Records CS 8129


Clarinet: Benny Goodman
Piano: Andre Previn, Russ Freeman
Bass: George Duvivier, Milt Hinton (replaces on Happy Session Blues) and Leroy Vinnegar
Guitar: Barney Kessel, Turk Van Lake
Saxophones: Herb Geller, James Sands, Bob Wilber, Babe Clark, Pepper Adams
Trumpets: John Frosk, Allen Smith, Erment Perry, Benny Ventura
Trombones: Rex Peer, Hale Rood, Buster Cooper

Andre Previn, Shelly Manne and Barney Kessel appear through the courtesy of Contemporary Records.

From the back cover: One of the results of a success as tremendous as Goodman's was in the 1930s is the difficulty of presenting anything new to a public which wants to hear the dozens of Goodman classics over and over again. But Benny has always been searching for new songs, new players, new arrangers, and has rarely performed without presenting something or someone new. Last year during his European tour, culminating in his famous appearance at the Brussels Fair, recorded by Columbia in two volumes called Benny In Brussels (CS 8075, CS 8076) he discovered a young composer-arranger named Bobby Gutesha, a Yugoslavian now living in Germany. Four examples of this new talent are included in this album. Benny also commissioned Andre Previn to write a piece for his Brussels debut, and that too is included.

Benny's respect for Andre Previn as a pianist has been growing the several years while Goodman was on the East Coast and Previn on the West Coast. During a recent visit to Hollywood Goodman called Previn and arranged for the musical meeting he had been looking forward to, and the quintet sides they mad also included Barrey Kessel, who plays and sings (?) some wonderful choruses. For the East Coast sessions Benny called Russ Freeman, one of those rare pianists who, like Basie and Claude Thornhill, seem to play only the perfect notes at the perfect time. Drummer Shelly Manne was a West Coast visitor to the East Coast sessions in the album and another musician whom geography has prevented from joining Goodman before. The rest of the band, some like George Duvivier, veterans of other Goodman sessions (and most new to Benny's listeners), gathered to "try out some new things." Maybe they didn't know a microphone was turned on. I'm glad it was.

From Billboard - April 4, 1959: Ring the bells and chime the cymbals for Benny is back with a modern jazz group and jazz ork and some standards and Goodman and the men play well together. The new jazz quintet features such names as P. Adams, R. Freeman, S. Manne, H. Geller and B. Wilber. The arrangements are by Previn, Bobby Gutesha from Yugoslavia, plus the old Eddie Sauter arrangement of "Clarinet a la King." Sound is only fair, but Goodman may gain new fans with this stereo set.

Happy Session Blues
You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
King And Me
Indian Summer
What A Diff'rence A Day Made
Batunga Train
Having A Ball
Clarinet a la King
Macedonia Lullaby
Diga Diga Doo

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