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Behind the BeatBenny Rides Again by Benny Goodman
Benny Rides Again by Benny Goodman, Nine special recordings that stood out PBS: Jazz Sextet
Other Recording Spotlights
Benny Rides Again

By Loren Schoenberg, Conductor and Saxophonist

Written by: Eddie Sauter
Performed by: Benny Goodman and his Orchestra: Alec Fila, Irving Goodman, Jimmy Maxwell, Cootie Williams, trumpet; Red Gingler, Lou McGarity, trombone; Gus Bivona, Skip Martin, alto saxophone; George Auld, Jack Henderson, tenor saxophone; Bob Snyder, baritone saxophone; Bernie Leighton, piano; Mike Bryan, guitar; Artie Bernstein, bass; Harry Jaeger, drums; Eddie Sauter, arranger
Recorded: November 13, 1940

Audio Feature Benny Rides Again
Recorded November 13, 1940
(Courtesy Columbia/Legacy)

The innovative composer/arranger Eddie Sauter brought a much-needed infusion of new material into the Benny Goodman band of the early 1940's. The call and response formula that Fletcher Henderson relied upon so heavily in his arrangements and that had helped bring Goodman to fame in 1935 had, by 1940, worn a tad thin by dint of sheer repetition. Sauter had established himself with his challenging writing for the Red Norvo band, featuring vocalist Mildred Bailey. As Benny Rides Again illustrates so clearly, Sauter had a penchant for counterpoint, odd instrumental combinations that broke up the by-then standard formations of brass and reeds, and his own harmonic point of view. One of Goodman's most popular recordings was Sing, Sing, Sing, which was built around clarinet and tom-tom drums. Sauter uses that idea with great humor and creativity throughout this piece, and the sheer audacity of the compositional conception shows Sauter to be one of, if not the most original voice in jazz composition after Ellington at the time.