Monday, 20 January 2014

Benny Goodman 1938 concert revived

Benny Goodman 1938 concert revived

I stumbled across this item at the weekend and it instantly put me in a Big Band mood, as well as delighting me with the news that one of the seminal live concerts of the 1930s (and in the history of jazz in general) is going to be reproduced at Cadogan Hall in London this year.  I was less pleased to note that it's being put on in less than a week's time - the 26th January (although to be fair that does mark as near as dammit the 76th anniversary of the original performance).  Thanks for that advanced bit of reporting, Daily Telegraph(!).

However, this looks to be not the only Big Band concert playing at Cadogan Hall in 2014; thanks to this article I've discovered there's also a 100 Years of Big Band Jazz concert on 15 June as well as another Carnegie Hall revival on the 14th November, this time celebrating the 1939 performances of Benny Goodman's and Glenn Miller's Orchestras (plus selections from Louis Armstrong's and Count Basie's appearances).

Well done to Pete Long and his colleagues for helping to keep these wonderful bands' songs alive.  It's splendid to see this music of the 1930s & '40s still performed for audiences of today with such enthusiasm - and this is only at one venue!  Who knows what other events are on elsewhere in the country?  (Seriously, do tell if you know of any!).

source - BBC Four

Could 2014 in fact be a renaissance year for early 20th century jazz, I wonder?  Viewers in the U.K. have already been treated to the excellent B.B.C. Four programme Len Goodman's Dance Band Days, broadcast over Christmas (and already expertly covered by Mim over at Crinoline Robot; eagle-eyed readers will also have spotted Matt from Southern Retro in the above clip), and I note that off the back of it Mr Goodman will be appearing with Michael Law's Piccadilly Dance Orchestra at Littlecote House, Buckinghamshire, on the 25th July. 

Clare Teal's Sunday night Radio 2 show has also evolved nicely even if she still doesn't play the early British dance bands that her predecessor Malcolm Laycock did and there are more and more DAB and Internet radio stations appearing that are devoted to early dance and big bands (such as Angel Radio and Radio Dismuke - again, if you know of any others do give them a mention).

All these events and broadcasts popping up gives me great hope for a jumping and jiving year ahead.  Now I'm off to listen to more Benny Goodman.  Let's Dance!


  1. Aw, thank you for the link, Bruce.

    I might have a word with the Mr about that November concert, it looks amazing... Nights out in London for us mean getting as hotel, so always take planning!

    Warner Leisure Hotels actually do Big Band Weekends! Yup, it's the hotel chain aimed at retired people. I was looking for hotels we could take my mother-in-law to - she's disabled, and I thought Warner would be most likely to have a good range of accessible facilities as they expect their customers to be older. I picked up a brochure from a travel agent, and it turns out those places do all sorts of themed weekends, from the usual 60s and 70s stuff to big bands. Anyway, their website's a bit rubbish as far as searching for big band breaks go, but most of their hotels have one every few months, and it includes bands like the Joe Loss Orchestra. They've even got Len Goodman and the Piccadilly Dance Orchestra at one venue in July. (Oh, DO WANT!)

    1. It does look great that concert, doesn't it? Early days, but I might consider going as well - depending on how this year pans out.

      Yes, I'd heard about Warner's Big Band Weekends - my parents often use their hotels and speak quite highly of them (my stepdad is also disabled, so they do value the accessibility). They've even suggested I go along with them for one of those weekenders - although Warners breaks are favoured by retirees the only real criteria is "over 21s only" so I would qualify! (I even got a brochure recently - just the little free mailed affair as part of their advertising push but oh, it did make me feel a bit old!) I saw the Len Goodman-PDO weekend and thought of you (also considered going myself, but it's likely sold out already, and July's a bit soon with all that's going on with us at the moment). But I bet it'll be a cracking weekend, and I hope they do more of them.

  2. Wonderful! Don't you just love Sing Sing Sing?


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