Bio of swing band leader 'Benny Goodman' from age 10 (1919) to his landmark Carnegie Hall band concert in 1938. Not exactly historically accurate, but great music. Also, guest appearances ... See full summary »
Bio of swing band leader 'Benny Goodman' from age 10 (1919) to his landmark Carnegie Hall band concert in 1938. Not exactly historically accurate, but great music. Also, guest appearances by many great musicians of the time. Written by
Don Femia <email@example.com>
A fine glimpse--if not of the actual life of Mr Goodman--of giants of the Swing era.
Viewed from the point of view of a jazz fan interested in the history of swing, this movie is a treasure. There are moments all through when some of the true greats in jazz can be at least glimpsed, and some have ongoing parts: Buck Clayton, on trumpet, Teddy Wilson on piano, Gene Krupa, on drums, Lionel Hampton on vibes, Stan Getz on tenor saxophone (he was the farthest to the right on the front row--almost always cut out of the pan-and-scan print shown on TCM, but he has a great solo and closeup in one of the numbers, in the Palomar ballroom section). There are other stars who appear for one scene, but it's fun to see them, even briefly. Ziggy Elman plays his trumpet solo on "And the Angels Sing" glibly verbatim from the famous recording, but rushes, unfortunately. The plot is quite predictable, and there's no clinch at the end, just shining eyes. A must-buy for the jazz sentimentalist--but get the wide-screen version.
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