Benny Goodman: The Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert

Author: Jon Hancock
Publisher: Prancing Fish
Copyright: 2008
ISBN: 978-0-9562404-0-8

page 45: On Saturday, January 15, there were three concerts in the hall so it's unlikely that they could have got in then.  It would seem that the most probable times for another rehearsal were either Friday morning or Saturday afternoon, after the Philharmonic concert. Photographs show the band at rehearsals in the main hall and Lester Young and Freddie Green from Basie's band are in some of those shots that appeared in Metronome, but Basie was due on stage in Scranton on Saturday night which would be at least a couple of hours drive away.

page 97: At this point in the concert all but four of the Goodman orchestra left the stage not to return until the second half. In their place came seven men from the Ellington and Basie bands. Johnny Hodges, Cootie Williams, and Harry Carney from the Ellington band and Count Basie himself brought along Freddie Green, Buck Clayton, Walter Page, and Lester Young from his band.

page 97: With Fats Waller due to appear on the CBS "Saturday Night Swing Club" from Hollywood, who better to play Fat's classic "Honeysuckle Rose" than his protege Count Basie? Bring in "Steady" Freddie Green, playing rhythm guitar, bassist Walter Page, nicknamed "The Big 'Un" for his big sound and big stature, and the flamboyant Gene Krupa, now we've got a pulse!

page 98: All the musicians get a chance to solo on "Honeysuckle Rose" except for Vernon Brown and Gene Krupa. Goodman did signal Freddie Green and Walter Page, both of whom were playing rhythm section instruments not really suited for solo work; Turk van Lake suggests that Goodman's decision to signal Freddie Green for a solo was startling and an example of Benny's insensitivity. Yet on page 12 of the concert program Freddie Green is listed as a "Guest Soloist" not just as a "guest." It could not have been that much of a surprise to Freddie when he was given the nod by Goodman.  [Editor's Note: Freddie was positioned in the front row of the band. Gene Krupa was to his left and Lester Young was to his right. He was playing his sunburst Epiphone Emperor.]

page 101: On January 6th, Teddy Wilson had recorded with Billie Holiday, Lester Young, Buck Clayton, Bennie Morton, Freddie Green, Walter Page, and Jo Jones.  

page 112: The Carnegie Hall concert give us the only recording we have of Gene Krupa playing on "Blue Room." Gene left the band in March 1938 before the tune was committed to wax. The studio version, recorded just after Gene's departure, has Lionel Hampton playing drums, with Lester Young and Freddie Green sitting in.

page 123: Teddy Wilson had recorded "If Dreams Come True" with Billie Holiday a few days before the concert with Benny's Carnegie Hall guests Walter Page, Buck Clayton, Freddie Green, and Lester Young.

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