Transcript:

Speaker What you were saying about when he's playing. Doesn't matter what he was thinking.

Speaker Yeah. Right. Yeah.

Speaker Yes. OK.

Speaker It really doesn't a matter what Benny Goodman was thinking about, why he's playing when it was great solos like clarinet, marmalade. What are you thinking about? You know, and that's what Benny Goodman was all about. Really? I can imagine as a improvising jazz musician. I know the feeling about how tough it must have been for Benny Goodman to be Benny Goodman every night.

Speaker I'm talking about all those great shows, and then you'd have to be Benny Goodman in the afternoon during the recording sessions analogy of baseball player.

Speaker Oh, it's it's analogies, too. If you ever if you hit 40 home runs or 50 home runs. George Steinbrenner is gonna love you. You know, but you're going to have to go to bat above 500 times to do that. Which means if you have a 400 percent average and that means you wrong 60 percent of the time, it was very difficult for Benny Goodman to live with. He was a perfectionist, as we all know. And, you know, you when you pick up on the fragments of your best solo spots. That puts you in the position of not being able to repeat those. Exactly the way they were played. And now you're looking for something to improve on that as a perfectionist. Very difficult position to put yourself in.

Speaker There is no such thing as being perfect. You know, you can't be perfect all the time.

Speaker She had to jump back and start telling Joe Wylder about that when you were 14, you were playing with early.

Speaker I was so pleased to be asked.

Speaker To be part of a Benny Goodman master's program, I got to tell you, because I go back way back with Benny and his whole family, actually, I became part of that family. I was about 13 and 14 years old at the most. And I guess that that sort of feeling goes on nowadays in the high schools. You play in high school band. My own case, I play trumpet. I mean, you play in the auditorium. Should they strike up the band and, you know, everybody graduates. We're very past or not. But the point is that I get a phone call. I mean, the word gets around at this guy's a good trombone player. Was it? They would flatten and other guys at textile, I used to play saxophone. He's a good drummer. Whatever the word gets around and you get phone calls. I got a phone call at home from Irving Goodman about playing a Polish wedding and Jackson Heights with his little jazz group. Was I a high school band from a John Adams High School? And. And then there was another gig on Sunday. It was a Saturday night. And then Sunday they had a gig every Sunday in Corona, Long Island, the Social Athletic Club, whatever that means. I guess nowadays that would be a topless saloon. In any case, my dad was he was kind of uptight about me getting on a subway at one 30 in the morning to get back to Manhattan, you know. And Irv said, will you stay overnight with me? And so that's the first time I got to meet Benny and all the guys in the family. And I stayed over with Irving and he had bunk beds in his room cause we got through with our job. It was a big paddock on about me getting to the to the hall where this wedding party was when I arrived. I just said I was with the band and they didn't believe me. They thought I just came in here to get some ham sandwiches or something. And Irv came on and he didn't know what I looked like. They said, oh, I'm you know, I'm the piano player. Oh, come on, man. So anyway, that all worked out great. And about two thirty in the morning, it was a big racket in the hall. And I looked down. I mean, we we kind of jumped out of bed and looked down. There was Harry Goodman and Charles lugging a bass fiddle in, and he was with Benny Pollock's band at The Chasm, Indiana, you know, Billy Rose's place. And then about a half hour later, or Freddy government played was at the lowest state with with Ted Lewis's band and played trumpet with Ted. So there's a whole family of musicians, I guess such a charge out of that. And then I was telling Benny that next morning, whatever, about me playing jazz piano. And he was anxious to hear me play, actually. And there was no piano. So the following Sunday, we we we had a gig every Saturday and every Sunday. And the following Sunday, he drove Irv and myself over to Forest Hills to meet Red Norvo. I'm Mildred Bailey. And they had a piano and that's how I got to meet them. So you could tell my connection to Benny Goodman very, very deep and meaningful about it.

Speaker So we get a sense of what kind of guy.

Speaker Oh, I loved red AFACT years, you know, years later, like is a oh expression. Whatever goes around comes around. Well you talk about it coming around many, many years later. I was at the embers in 1951 when I open the embers and that was a never seen of course who is Art Tatum and and my quartet. And it was what I experience to be able to hear Art Tatum for 16 weeks. And boy, I was just made sure I never tried to copy any of his runs. I wasn't gonna make it anyway. But it did become part of me. And I'm very grateful and thankful for that, of course. In any case, then later on read novels, Trio was was with me.

Speaker And the next time that we went in and of course I was with, you know, got to know Reg. So over the years. And Red was always. Had a wonderful kind of manner about him. Was very laid back. And I always enjoyed his own playing so much, we made you love it, you know? And so wonderful part of Red's personality, right? I just red read very special.

Speaker Could you give us a sense when you visited. Got no red milby at their apartment in Forest Hills. This was like a sort of. A place where musicians hung out with Teddy and Benny got together for the first time.

Speaker Yeah, well, I've read a novel and Melder had a very nice house, as I recall, and far shells, and it was very conducive to what is commonly known as a jam session here and there.

Speaker And, gee, I got to tell you.

Speaker We talked about Teddy Wilson, who'd be great, great pal of mine. I loved Teddy. So. But anyway, there was one time I actually got a phone call before I was even a member of the musicians union. There was a phone call from Benny who called my dad. And I don't know if I was free to come running down a 20, 30 street old Brunswick Studios. And he had a band. And Teddy Wilson was supposed to be on the record date and he hadn't shown up. And I dashed down. I got on a submarine. All right. They, you know, and and I rehearsed the first tune with them. And then to my great disappointment that, you know, that Teddy did show up, which was okay. But I was so happy to be part of it and be around the guys. And they had Charlie Teagarden, Jack Teagarden. And I remember there was a tennis player and his name was Call. And the record date was Aintree Glad. That was one of the tunes. And I just got a C D which had Asia great on it. Wow. That'll throw you back a few years.

Speaker That was the first record date that he did as Jasmine.

Speaker That was I guess so. Yeah. That must have been 1931 32 in that area because the first job I played before I was 16, I joined the band. Another one of those weekend bands and that a school band, but a neighborhood band, a Brooklyn neighborhood band called Frank Lamar. And I went to work at the Roseland Ballroom for those seven.

Speaker Stop those schooling from then on.

Speaker Did you get to know Bunny Berrigan around this time I was there?

Speaker Yeah. No.

Speaker That was nineteen thirty two and thirty thirty five. Might've been late. Thirty four or thirty five. Bunny Berrigan and Eddie Condon, they were playing at the famous star was opening night, and I had played at the famous stories unit of Mission Panish, you know, and being and then a mission piano player, you know, like in those days back then in the thirties. The public address at the P.A. systems left a lot to be desired. And you paid a lot of heavy dues, you know, trying to get your sound across. But anyway, I played at the famous door playing the animation piano. I like playing the dinner section or whatever. And Sammy, why she was what was later a music publisher, you know, and Lenny hated the band. They knew they were partners. They owned the famous door jam. And that was a music.

Speaker Let's start with Benny Love.

Speaker Yeah, right.

Speaker We were talking about the Palomar Ballroom. And this was only a couple of weeks after Bunnie had been with Benny Goodman is banned at the Palomar as he was on that trip. And he talked about Benny, his band. He loved being in the band, but he was he was put in a spot where he had to get back to New York because he had his wife and two little girls, two babies are reopening.

Speaker I mean, he felt.

Speaker Family duty. Call them back. And he was at CBS, but he had some iron chops. Start at eight o'clock at night. In the morning. Keep going. And play to CBS and the studio band. And then worked at the famous store from 10 to 4:00 in the morning. And on opening night, Shammy Weiss called me. He had my number at home. Call me and said, You better get down here, because Joy Zaku is supposed to be with Bunny's group. We were actually it was Eddie Condon and Red McKenzie and then Bunny. It was it was awful hard to define who a bandleader was in that case. But anyway, it was a wonderful quote that I just loved being with it. And I went down to sit. Evita's George Sax simply fell off the piano into a couple of parties of, you know, some tables or whatever. They had to remove him. And so I went and stayed with the group from then on. And Bernie was a bit upset with me at times. In fact, there was Eddie Condon who saved that job for me, I got to tell you.

Speaker Always based on the fact that I get distracted and play a different middle part for a different song. You know, if I talk to John, I'd be playing the middle part of what is there to say. I'm good. I was so fascinated with bunnies playing, you know, and.

Speaker And I got to tell ya, knowing that Eddie Carton was your uncle, that I learned so much about chord changes from that I had the most definitive direct route to.

Speaker The changes that are involved in coming out of a release of a song back into the last eight bars, going into a release. You know, he would change the composer's writing, actually. Well, you might have three chord changes leading from the second eight, you know, of the song of a pop tune, whatever, whichever song was going into the middle part. And Eddie had a way of playing one chord change that would lead you right there. As a matter of fact, Bunny Bergens, famous record of I can't get started with you was Eddie Condon setting up the chord changes of all of his improvisational playing, leading into the chorus and then and the key change going to the end of the piece, a very famous solo of his. And those were all that economist Koja Band. We'd hit a cord and said, You're on your own. Bunny, you know.

Speaker You were talking before about Penny Jean.

Speaker Oh, well, we don't. Oh, you know, it's funny. I mean, knowing very from from from the time I was a young kid and then it was an ambition to be in his van, obviously.

Speaker Finally, after the war and coming out of the army, I was I suppose my thinking was very much like all the other jazz musicians I know. I didn't know after four and a half years in the Army what I really wanted to sit on a Greyhound bus that much and that often, like every night, play the piano and then get on a bus. And then, of course, play a very bad keyboard. You sometimes you played a ballroom that hadn't been open for three years. And I don't think your ears was thinking too much about the piano. It looks like a piano and must be a piano. It's all there is to that. You know, in case I can't, I joined the MBC studio band and I wanted to be in town. I was doing jingles, you know, the studio work you do. And then I got a call about doing Benny Goodman is programs in 1946, the summer of 46, and he's doing a program for Coal Country Under the Stars. And it was for action, which is mobile gas. It was a mobile gas program. And I was just so happy to to be part of it and stay with it.

Speaker In any case, about the third weekend of the program, there was a a little rumble going on and in the studio.

Speaker And it all had to do with, I guess should you choose who you would call. A couple of heavy hitters arrived who were part of the avid. I thought they were part of the advertising agency it turned out to be CEO of. Of action, and his wife, as I recall, is very, very beautiful.

Speaker And, uh.

Speaker And had a Scandinavian kind of action dance. Desirae mentioned that is because we wound up doing the victim board program with Benny Goodman for the fall season. And no one had ever heard of Victor Borg but the CEO's wife, you know, and that takes care of that program. In any case, and I love Victor Borg, he was wonderful. But they came over to say hello to Benny. And then he was always so laid back. But he could be the most charming guy socially. It would surprise you because he was non-verbal to such a great extent, you know. And then to hear Benny. Come on. So it was it would always surprise me or surprise the other guys and the CEOs into those shoes to Benny or whoever it was, the head of the advertising agency. And then why? It was wonderful. He was very happy to meet them. And the CEO's wife said the one thing she didn't understand about the program was that because it's called concentrate on the stars, why does the program doesn't start with a march. Thinking of I guess she was thinking about the Tivoli Gardens, something Copenhagen. Some park setup or whatever. And that's sort of through Beneš often. He just turned around to me. I was standing there and he introduced me to them and he said, this is my Pantages, you know, Joe Bushkin.

Speaker And he said, Joe, we should put together a couple of marches for next week. And he figured, well, I'd be the automatic ranger to do that had I just come out of the Army. So I came in with under the Double Eagle Sousa March. Boop, boop, boop, boop. And then the other one was Colonel Bogey was one of my favorites when I played my horn with the Marshfield Airforce Band. And so the two arrangements, I, I got those two arrangements put together and we were rehearsing them. And it turned out that there are a double eagle, which Benny later renamed Benjy's Bubble, and we recorded it and put his name on it. And mine it was public domain, which was great. I appreciated that. And I don't know, somehow or other that was a more difficult arrangement to play and get the brass section going nuts.

Speaker We had a wonderful horn section, just great trumpet players. And I just I don't know what got into meet the test that that brass section and Benny being the perfectionist he always was. There was no Dennis session that afternoon. I mean, we played we rehearsed right on through. He was going to get us the double eagle straightened out. It was the last thing in the world we were gonna get done. But then we ran Colonel Bogey down, and that was kind of a free swing and easy jazz arrangement, you know, just the blues kind of feel. And the guys wanted to play that. They loved it. And boy, he's very contraries it. No, we're going to do one of the double eagle. The following week. We did the Colonel Bogey and 11 years later became a big smash hit with the Bridge on the River Kwai. But I doubt shamefully if we had recorded it eleven years previous to the film and Alec Guinness making it all happen, it might have gotten lost in the shuffle anyway.

Speaker Jumping back to talking about Gene and Eddie. Oh yeah, but that's about just Dacey, actually.

Speaker Oh yeah. Oh yes. What he meant to write stories about. Yes. Oh yeah. Why are they.

Speaker Well, much, though. Well, when I left Benny's band, we were at the 400 Club. Slight altercation there and. And many others that my point of view, I appreciate it, he said.

Speaker He said, Who do you think we ought to get out? I said, just stay, she was at the Astor Hotel. I knew you were staying. So I called Jess and Josh came in and did the program and. But I was from the time that I was with Buddy's group and we were playing in New York when Benny's band was in town, they automatically came there. And Hank, they all came hang out. And of course, Jerry Condon, just Stacy, Gene Krupa, all part of that Chicago group of. But Freeman, Davy, Jeff. And they that's that's really a big part of Benny's background. The Orson High Band. I think they were called and I mean, Benny's responsibility with the family. I saw the film, the Benny Goodman story, and that's how I knew that his dad had passed on when he was a young fella like Leonard in the way. Yeah, but the Louie.

Speaker So they want to stop.

Speaker How are we doing? Are we all right? All right.

Speaker This guy is clear his stance, and that's that's shoes nail then into the ground, right? Yeah, that's what that's about.

Speaker OK, keep going with Jess.

Speaker Or you just don't know what to talk about. Jess, I just love Jess. She was just a great, great character and, you know.

Speaker How about the trumpet section? There's a trumpet player, famous trumpet section with Chris Griffin. Oh, yeah.

Speaker Were you a fan of theirs or was it was Ziggy was in Tommy's band, you know, before I went in the Army, you know, back. I'm forty I'm forty one, and I certainly.

Speaker Was a big fan of Bunny Berrigan than I ever would be of Ziggy Ellman's. You know, what you gotta do is have his you know, if your ears are working or if you take the wax out.

Speaker You know what I'm talking about. Very simple. Yeah.

Speaker You in how you get just to take your place when you live. Yeah. Right. You followed Milltown. I did that. Was that something you were aware of at the time.

Speaker No. No. Mel Powell, I got to tell you, Mel Power even tell you this. I am older than now, you know. And when I was in the Schervish.

Speaker Yeah.

Speaker Now, with winged victory I took, they rose poises conductor, Shosha conductor.

Speaker I conducted the matinees for any. We were talking about it all about Mel, Paul, Mel. Mel was a kind of it was with muggy Spanish band. I think at Nick's. And when I met him, I was one of those, the guy that he looked up to. You know, piano playing wise. And I've always been a great pal of Mel's. And whenever I've seen him, we have a great rapport. And I love now. And, of course, a great appreciation of his talent. How could I not appreciate mental powers? Anyway, we talked about, John, about. I was in Benish Band of 40 section and. I am 52, I got a call to do the Benny Goodman Louis Armstrong tour. I should look forward to that. At that point, I had my own quartet and but I really wanted to play with Louis and I just loved Louis. I had a tremendous.

Speaker He was my idol and so forth. Louis Armstrong was my black father, we all have two fathers, you know. Three of them had Bunny Berrigan and Louis in them and my own father.

Speaker And my dad knew it. And it didn't matter at all. There was a great idea. You can use all the help you can get. But anyway, this is like six years later.

Speaker And when I was in Benny's van, as well as I knew Betty, as a much younger fellow, when you're in a guy's band, your objective is to sound good, is to play good to kind of match up. Now, I was one of the lucky jazz musicians and I know how lucky I was. I mean, to be in Bunny Berryman's band, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and the great bands. And you got to be pretty lucky to get in those bands, just not like playing trumpet where they have four trumpets. You only have one piano boy.

Speaker It's like being the CEO of whatever is Sony. And then another gig waiting for you. But that's the whole point of when you're in the band, you wanted to sound good. And it's not that you're making good for the leader. You're making good for yourself. You know, you've got the same problem. Benny Goodman. Ed, without being a perfectionist, you know. Well, you're trying to when you're improvising, you're digging in amongst the fragments of your experience of your life. And I don't know if I'm getting my thought across, but that's what I'm trying to say. I'm just simply trying to say that when you're in a guy's band, you're too busy analyzing him. You're having enough trouble analyzing yourself. And but then I go at the with with Louie's group and having a wonderful time, of course. And we opened in New Haven, you know, in a middle of a of a prize fighting ring or whatever. And Benny was trying to get Lily to do a finale, somehow come up and play with his trio, with the quartet. And he kept saying, I don't know why. He said I said I never made any records with. And he told Benny that at Carnegie Hall. He said, Look, Pops, he's dead. Said, I never made any records. Really, you know, why can't both bands do a finale? It was the Benny Goodman Louis Armstrong tour. That's what Phenolic should be. And you say, well, like, what would you like to play? It would just play some blues or the Saints with them. You know, he said a tune we all know. And they said, no, no. Do they? Even at Carnegie Hall here. Johnny Mercer writes some special lyrics that he wanted to sing with Louis. Benny always had a hang up about singing, you know. And there was something to do with his vocal chords that needed some straightening out Johnny. He had vocal chords for the reed and the clarinet, but it didn't work without the horn. In any case where Louis went along with that, I mean, he'd do it, you know, because Johnny Mercer had gone through all this trouble with doing the lyrics. They were reading it right off the sheet. It was ridiculous. Ray, we played Millhaven, then we played Newark and still want to do the finale. Wasn't going to work. One night Benny said, well, we'll open tonight. And then you then anyo and then you close a show like, you know, the two halves the following night, Lily, you open the night. And if he just couldn't seem to juggle it for some reason, it had to do with Lily being as free. You know, there it is, man. What I'm doing is what you got and being free and carrying on. You know, the great extrovert Louis was and came out through the vocals. You know, Bing Crosby once said to me that the greatest singer in the world is Bar none is Louis Armstrong. They should. It's so simple. He said when he sings a sad song, you feel like crying. When he sings a happy song, you feel like laugh. And he said, What else could possibly be left to be done with a pop tune? But anyway, so now we we get. Now I have the Carnegie Hall. We played we were in Providence, Rhode Island. And as a matter of fact, after that, we still weren't doing a finale. Somehow didn't didn't come about. And Benny asked me if I wanted to go and have a corn beef sandwich or he loved corned beef. He loved delicatessen, a junk food maniac. And I said, fine. I went with him and I had a comedy sandwich. I got a big kick out of talking to Benny and hanging out, you know? And it made me realize at that during that tour, there was this wonderful jazz free, swingin, wild man buried inside of Benny that he just never could get out.

Speaker You know, as a result, he took the position of the sort of professorial.

Speaker Thing, you know, and I mean, everything he had to say came up musically through the tonality of his of his instrument. And I realize that that very evening I realized that Benny needed Gene Krupa. He was the extrovert that Benny wasn't. And and then to be praised with or with a title, some publicity, Asian or whatever, being called the king of Swing and put some extra heat on him. I mean, you know, it's high praise now. You gotta come up to that every time you play. And that that gets more and more difficult is another hang, you know. So it made me really aware of Benish. I am now the next caché we played. Benny didn't show up and we did the Russia the tool without any. He just backed off and then we had a finale, Luján Gene Krupa took the band over and they put together a finale that was a knockout where we opened the show and the Benny Goodman band played the second half.

Speaker And then during Sing, Sing, Sing or whatever. There was a long drum solo and they had two drum sets and kozy. Cole got up and they did a battle of drums, you know, like they did with the jazz at the Philharmonic or whatever. And that carried on. And there were no no musicians on stage.

Speaker And then from the back of the hall, the Benny Goodman Band and Louise guys came marching down the two aisles of a theater, which turned the joint into an absolute panic. I mean, it was bedlam and doing the Saints go marching in. And then both bands were standing up and in the front on the apron of the stage doing the stage. And I'll never, never forget Louis Armstrong with all of these horns carrying on.

Speaker You could hear Louis above the whole way above that whole group of musicians playing. And I remember the phrase that he used on the Saints. He should to pooper. Do do do do do do do do do do.

Speaker Oh, man. Just trying to catch on. And you know, it's a wonderful feeling and a wonderful thing to see all of the guys in Benny's band and all of the cast off instead of facing front toward the audience. You're all facing towards Pops. We had two buses on the tour and Lily's bus was jammed with Benny Goodman musicians. They wanted to be around Louie because he had so many stories to tell us on. And just I mean, really could could keep you happy on the worst possible imaginable one night stand when you get through playing in Casper, Wyoming. And next thing you know, you're on a bus going to Oklahoma City. That's long. All Fops and Lillia keep you entertained all the way through in a middle of a sandstorm. So I'm just that's that's your personality.

Speaker There's something very tragic about it, too. There was Betty wanting to get out.

Speaker Right. You know, I and I of course, I I loved Benny's musicality and I loved knowing him my whole life, really. And I really I understood Benny. And from then on, after that tour, I really got to know Benny a lot, lot better.

Speaker In fact, I ran out of any one time when I got back from Europe and I had bought a Nagra, you know, a great, great tape machine. That was the tape machine that I have that made AMP actually look like a Model T.. I couldn't resist that. And I'm walking down a street with my nagger. And I ran to Benny. He was walking toward me, walking the other way. He said, Joe, what he said. What do you got there? He thought it looked pretty good. I said, It's a naggers, a great, great tape machine. I said, you ought to have one of these, Benny, to catch some of those great performances. And I said, I can never use a tape machine. He's just come on, let's have some coffee, as I'm sure we want to Lindy's, you know. And we had to say a corned beef sandwich you've got. It always had to be go and be. And a salad. I said, why? Why can't you have a tape machine? You know, he's in too many decisions and make. Is that wonderful, said, pause, rewind, stop record. Fast forward.

Speaker I mean, I tell you that I knock and I knock any old man, but he had trouble, you know, choosing a chapel and don't be that way or stopping at the Savoy. He'll want to know. I just feel make sure he's perfect. There's your perfectionist hangup again, you know, and when you've got that kind of sight, you know, and that psychological hangup, really, I mean, a deep perfectionist, you know, everything has to have your okay or it can't go on because it might not be perfect. Something like that.

Speaker You were saying before and seen the Benny Goodman story. Never got the sense of his family. I was reading just by its profile. You were talking about your father. Your father came from Kiev. Father. Yeah. Yeah. You were right. So did you relate to that? And I guess his father encouraged him to get started in music. Also helped you understand what this is, what is driving this guy? This is what the profession is about. You can't fail because if he fails, it's like the whole family goes down.

Speaker Yeah, well, I don't know. I don't know.

Speaker Arne, how.

Speaker Oh, I do know that now to give you have you know, for example, I mean, people talk about Benny Goodman and being very laid back, you know, and so forth. It actually had nothing to do with being a snob. I had nothing to do with that. And he was wonderful with Irving. In fact, he let us use the arrangements that he was using in the studio, you know, like on his first record dates with these sidemen and Teagarden and all the guys. And we had two trumpets and a trombone and and a tuba and all that. We had a good band. There was little high school band. And of that band, I say maybe two or three guys came out with three or four became pros, no cap played drums with Vincent Lopez or whatever. But I mean, you know, he going to be as much a pro as we can handle. A few guys in that little group actually stayed with music. You know, we were serious about it. But I mean, Benny supplied us with a lot of little arrangements.

Speaker He was very, very enthused, is enthusiastic about Irving and and there's a little high school band. And and one Sunday we weren't playing Shaadi. I mean, the Social Athletic Club gig got canceled on us. And I was there. There goes another two bucks, you know, but that was a lot of money for us in those days, man. But anyway, Vanny said, what did you kids come in the studio with me today? And he and he had a new four. I forget that in there. And I polish that kid up form and we wanted to NBC well, with Benny was a coupe. I know the three of us were sitting in the front seat, man, and it was such a joy that we live with the king. You know what we call him the king of swing way before anyone else set out. Tell you that. And and Willie took us in the studio was Al Goodman, Czolgosz. And it was Mannie Klein on trumpet, Charlie Teege on. Jack Teagarden, Jack Jerry. Artie Shaw played lead Al I know Touch Mandella played lead alto and Artie played. Thank you. I think Audie was playing tenor and and Benny was playing third hour. In that band and China think some of the other guys there were some of the best musicians in the world were not banned. And we got to meet on that afternoon when it was a big kick. It meant a lot. So there was a very, very humanistic, soft side to Benny Goodman, who, you know, who had to have very tough front.

Speaker Going back to the extrovert and everything, and Jeanne, we were telling you tonight, but in a sense, it's like he loved Jeanne. He hadn't have Jeanne there. You said he couldn't be around people who were introverts.

Speaker Yeah. Right. That's true.

Speaker Drove him crazy to talk about that, Jeanne.

Speaker Yeah.

Speaker Well, you we were talking about very being an introvert and and over being the extrovert. Now, he had what'll happen, couldn't be more of an extrovert yet. Terry Wilson was was an introvert, actually very, very quiet. And, you know, when I auditioned for Benny's band in 1938, I was playing at a place called Kelly Stables, which Ralph Watkins and later on had Basin Street aged and the embers. And so it was such a big jazz fan, owner of a club. And we always got treated beautifully with Ralph. He understood everything that made a jazz musician quick. And I was playing in a mission piano at Charlie Stables or was Coleman Hawkins Quartet and myself and Lionel Hampton Davey Tough, who was playing drums in the band with The Wall of the Story in 1938, and Charlie Christian, who I didn't really know, you know, but they dragged him along. But they wanted me in that band and that rhythm section, you know. I mean, Davey Thompson, we got to get Joe, you know. And so they came and drag me. I didn't know about the audition. And they drag me down and I went and auditioned and and whatever age I was in 38, about twenty two, I looked above fourteeners up. I mean, it's just scary. And I stopped playing. I knew every trio arrangement, every quartet. I know. I know. I really know. You know, I knew those arrangements as Benny Goodman. Anyway, I didn't get the job that any guy Johnny. He got Johnny Connery was a very quiet, studious fellow. So I figured the next time I auditioned for Benny, I'm going to get some fake glasses or something, you know? Right. And get a suit that doesn't fit to whatever, you know, show up in bad shape and lay back. Maybe I'll get the.

Speaker Yeah, yeah, yeah, it really. Oh, yeah.

Speaker I'll be great a couple of what, one, two of W. B A, I'm on the radio station. Yeah, very good station. We're going to be Stephan Volpi talking about the thing you wrote for four pianos, three pianos and Nachman, that turn out to be was a wrong tape in that.

Speaker And it was a it was Lee Wiley rehearsing at my apartment.

Speaker And she sounded just so wonderful. It just knocked me out when I heard it. I got abacas, said, I'll make a copy of it.

Speaker I have a Louis in and, you know, in the apartment. True. And I said, Louis can't read music, you know, and all of a you read.

Speaker He had a bunch of lead sheets for them, and one of them was because of you, the thing that Tony Bennett got the big head on. I think Bob Jones made a copy of that tape and send it to Tony. And it's really why he came from his dentist and he wanted to bring some leeches, you know, like Rembrandt's real number 62.

Speaker Right. But Johnny Mercer.

Speaker Oh, yeah. By Johnny Mercer.

Speaker Yeah, I know, Jack. Talking about. We dug about.

Speaker I remember Johnny Mercer talking about. I'm sure I'm trying to lead myself inside. I remember Johnny Murshid talking about Benny Goodman and the camera program. They did that a great program. And it was a wonderful idea of Johnny Mercial writing a fresh lyric on the news of the week and doing it as a blues, which really worked like a charm. It was wonderful.

Speaker And he showed a couple of times Benny wanted to sing them with them. I think he did on a couple of programs. And he said, you know, he's a heel, has had a change and those that make, you know, make things up. But about I remember Johnny's great frustration talking about when he did that program, especially that brought out Johnny's desire to really want to be a jazz musician.

Speaker He would have preferred that the being the great poet. There were issues that he was, you know. And if you're around now, I would say, Johnny, the Money eight and playing jazz is John, right? And Jones. In any case, he loved, you know, doing that program with Benny. That was you know, Johnny was again, was the extrovert.

Speaker You you had a great line.

Speaker I won't ask you that are off and do this if you don't mind quoting yourself the line you told me about the volcano. But Benny Benny knew when he was swinging.

Speaker Oh, yeah. Yeah. I happen to be gathering Intel like.

Speaker There was one period of time when we weren't from New York to the West Coast to do the program with Victor Borg. It was the Victor Borg program with Benny Goodman Czolgosz. And I know that really hack Benny, the idea that Benny Goodman, a world famous bammy, the greatest schwing band in United States, and suddenly he's doing a program, second billing to a guy. No, never heard of hair, you know. And that program was not going to be played in Denmark. I assure you, guys, they didn't have satellite then.

Speaker And.

Speaker I get it. I just did. Oh, by the book. Yeah. Yeah, well, we went in and going to the West Coast to do the Victim Borg program with Benny Goodman Orchestra.

Speaker I remember we did some one night stands and a couple of nights in a row the band didn't sound, you know. Well, it was a good reason for it. They were kind of tough jumps. You know, you get on the bus in San Diego after playing in a ballroom. It's a little chilly, damp. And then your next spotter's Sacramento is a nice hole in the middle of the night. Of course, you do shave one night room rent that way, cause you you you check in around six thirty in the morning and then you go to work that evening and then you go back to the hotel and then you, you can stay overnight again for one night.

Speaker It's fake. So we had the deal, Bill figured out on the Marriott chain at that time. But anyway, the band sounded kind of tired. And then finally we were up in Detroit somehow and we were playing and and the curtain opened. We were at that believe it was a Nixon theater, if my memory serves me right. Anyway, the curtain came up, boy, and we were playing we star of Steel and Apples.

Speaker And suddenly that band came alive and we had a good rhythm section and we had Lily Bausman, Bonnie Caswell, myself, Geithner, Harry Babish. Playing bass was great. It was swinging rhythm section. We boy, we got the band moving and it was it was really great. And I just band. And of course, you know, Benny came into the club at the piano doing a solo and I kept shouting one more. And he didn't seem to mind. He didn't get mad at all. He kept going because he'd been those happening. And I think he played six or seven causes in a row that were just blockbusters and man. And it just got very, very tight and very eyes, kind of like Fiona House on the edge of a volcano. And that killed a Rupp's. You'll be the first to know. And boy, Benny, news happening. And that's why I mean, if I had said one more at any other time.

Speaker Had it been curtains, Jack, you'd be No.

Speaker I would say that was a general idea. Gorgeous. I'm not letting you know how great you're doing. You're doing what? Interrupt the flow? No, it doesn't matter, man. You haven't. You mentioned being before. I'm used to getting put down. I'm usually getting put up, man.

Speaker I saw that playing with Ben.

Speaker I don't dare tell you that in a bad of that. Great. That the curtain came down and vanished. All it fellows. And I couldn't believe it. I chain around a body. Castro's got a great sense of humor. And Barney, I'm remember so clearly, Barney says, don't tell me he's gonna call a original. Now, you know, that whole idea and thing is just all Barney wanted to do. I think what he wanted to say was a thanks for a great evening, you guys. Really? That's what I know he wanted to say. But a lot of times you don't say what you really want to say. And he just said, you know the trouble with you guys. He said, all you want to do is swing and have a good time. And he walked off the stage. Met. Thanks for a great evening.

Speaker Thanks for making me swing and have a good time is really what he was saying, you know. And we all understood that. Gosh.

Speaker Another thought you were mentioning, being playing with being in your lungs is different in many places. Here are the two guys who were like, you know, there was the Beatles, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra. They were Benny. And being were the first kind was the same. I mean, did you get a sense of of. I mean, it must've been a very different situation, was Being's personality was so different, but they both had to live with that thing of being sort of superstars. The first guys to be, you know, they weren't. They were publicly.

Speaker Now I know what you're saying. But the amazing thing is that being handled beautifully. That never bothered being. No, I'm. I am serious.

Speaker I've been out being wheeled some ratio together. I was doing at that at the Hollywood Park one time one of the horses was running and wasn't going anywhere. And, oh, I just knock you out or you. So we didn't want to sit in a restaurant, you know, because we just got through doing a little commercial thing for Minute Maid or whatever, and we don't want to sit in the restaurant.

Speaker So banks said, would you like a dog and bean being, you know, I mean, I had the orange and beans will play to being. So we got that. And we're standing around. You know, I want to those stand up kind of counters. And someone came over and as bang for his initials, you know, meaning an autograph and being signed, B.J.. You know, I mean, B.S., you know, they look at me, you said, well, you asked my initials. He was so gracious with people he always thank. He thanked people. I was all, you know, I really traveled around the world with being I was until it being. And he was so gracious with people when they complimented me. Thank them for recognizing him and knowing him. Now, I was a little different. Different. Totally different world of of. Not we had nothing to do with being being in fact, Ben was not a perfectionist. If I made recordings with being, I know a recording corporation out here, which I did with Bing. And there was some little goof in it or whatever. And he and he wouldn't do a second take. Bing was a one take guy. He said the mistakes was part of the music. And, you know, Louis and Bing got along that. There you go. That's that. There's that kind of special rapport. And yet there was no way that being wasn't going to appreciate. Benny Goodman is beautiful playing. Is that special sound? I know that movie I was a call song is born. Well, I was the most perfect casting I've ever seen in a film in my life. I think Robert DeNiro should see that film a few times and know that he has not been captures perfectly. Is Benny Goodman was in that film as the absentminded professor and so forth. Perfect. I don't see how they could have done it any better.

Speaker I guess this is the last leg. I know this is a hard one to take on, but it's the whole question of race and jazz and being a white musician. And, you know, Benny's role is having helped integrate jazz, but also suffering in a sense of the fact that people resent what he got to be famous. You got to be rich. And a lot of black musicians did. And almost today, being perceived as like he took something away from black musicians because he was a yeah.

Speaker Like he always did that all through John Hammond. George Bush is, of course.

Speaker As a commercial approach, which is not true at all. I must tell you that that was a very sincere effort on John Hammond part. I will compliment John, and that was a sincere effort on John Hammer's part as far as integrating a group.

Speaker In my own case, when I was a Democrat, Buck Clayton, Joe Jones and Mohanned. You know, and I never thought I ever accept that I'm China. You couldn't get Billy Butterfield because he was busy in the studios. I got the best guys I could possibly get. The guys who can play the most play beautifully for me who are available and they happen to be black.

Speaker I'm through that many made a difference is having hired he made that possible for white musicians to hire black.

Speaker I don't think so. I don't think so far as I'm concerned. I don't think if Benny ever had a black guy in his band, I wouldn't still have Buck Clayton. And so it shows, you know. And why wouldn't I? I mean, Joe Jones and Militant and Buckley. And I'd be looking for them, you know. And if necessary, I'd go and play in South Africa. And when they choose me, I go and play. I go play in Africa or wherever that I might be accepted. What difference would it make? Now, Jeff? Well, I don't know. I can't possibly imagine. I know Terry was in the recording days with Benny before he ever had a band. Remember, when you're doing Scheid mandates. And I can understand Terry Wilson was such a beautiful match for Benny Goodman. You know? And that worked. And, gee, I don't know how that that quartet could have sounded any greater, you know? Wouldn't make any difference if he found some little Chinese guy to play like Lionel Hampton. I said, get a man, you know. Really? Tell me about him. I'll get him from my own group.

Speaker Far as I don't want to. Yeah, I don't know what. I don't know what there is to say about the black and white thing. It it's so hard.

Speaker It's a hard deal because partly it's like Benny. I feel that several musicians have said that to the did. Race didn't matter to him. But somehow, in retrospect, it's gotten confusing. He's been put in this racial role as his wife's family. That diminishes how people appreciate him.

Speaker Yeah, well, then, you know, mass murderer had a band with a lot of black and white guys who are like less. Listen, Jomaa shallow in 1938.

Speaker We had read. You know what? Out. Yeah. We had read along, although a group at the Hickory House channel. And then.

Speaker Well, I must say, I wouldn't let the Zarni Air. But it's really kind of crazy thinking. No, just take it off the air. When I was I. Are you saying to me that if he hadn't been integrated, maybe the band might have not become that popular?

Speaker I'm saying that if he if he'd been black instead of white. We have to be thought of differently today. You know, the fact that he was why do people sort of say, well, he's got you back a little bit?

Speaker You know, that's a crazy idea, I never thought of it that way, you know, he's there. If he had been flat Johannessen and some white guys in his band. It's crazy, I can't figure it out. Any.

Joe Bushkin
Interview Date:
1993-03-04
Runtime:
0:53:00
Keywords:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
cpb-aacip-504-g44hm53598, cpb-aacip-504-rx93776p82, cpb-aacip-504-rv0cv4cj7c
MLA CITATIONS:
"Joe Bushkin, Benny Goodman: Adventures in the Kingdom of Swing." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). 04 Mar. 1993, https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/404
APA CITATIONS:
(1993, March 04). Joe Bushkin, Benny Goodman: Adventures in the Kingdom of Swing. [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/404
CHICAGO CITATIONS:
"Joe Bushkin, Benny Goodman: Adventures in the Kingdom of Swing." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). March 04, 1993. Accessed May 16, 2022 https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/404

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