Speaker It gets a bit straight. Now, let's do this. Let's start with the story.

Speaker Oh, I remember hearing Benny once at Freedom Land, an entertainment park at the north of the Bronx. A lot of bands played there. And he put a band together for this week and he had a huge crowd. He had Cootie Williams on trumpet. That was before Kutty went back to do. And after a very successful Sapt, he was to introduce a girl singer who'd had a hit record, and he gave her a big build up. He said, I'm sure you've all been waiting to hear the singer who hit hitters you've heard on every radio station on jukebox. And he went home with a fine flow of language about the singer. And then he had to turn to the band and say and turned to her rather well, she was in the wings, some say. And what's your name? Course, that was a big hoot. Laughter But the pocho came out and did a stomp. And the next day I ran into Cootie Williams in New York somewhere and we were laughing about this. And I said, But where was the bass player? You said, Oh, he fought in the night before and forgot to get another one. Well, crudity was one guy that really admired Benny. And I mean, for one reason, he was I don't think he was afraid of anybody. The so-called Ray didn't mean a thing to Cudi. But I can. Many of the black musicians who worked with Benny spoke highly over in Panama. Frances, the drummer, for instance.

Speaker And and if you can't to say he too often slipped into Benny here in New York.

Speaker Oh, yes, I see. Otherwise. Yeah. Because you know where you come in here and if you come back to Panama, Francis, he was with the saveloy band. Right. Regular ward. Did you read about that?

Speaker Yeah.

Speaker Right. OK. So it. Well, I remember Danny was playing once at Freedomland, the kind of amusement park in North Proms. A lot of bands played there. He put a band together.

Speaker I think for the week, I think you're looking right. Leonard's worried.

Speaker I'm not looking at you and. Look. Look my way over to this side or someplace. That's right.

Speaker You start again. Yeah. I remember once Benny was playing at Freedomland, a kind of amusement park in the North Bronx. A lot of bands played there. And I think he'd put the band together through the week. He had Cootie Williams on trumpet. And that was before Cootie went back to Duke Ellington. And they played a very good set and they were well received by a bigger audience and getting towards the end of the set and they were to bring out two Jolson. Bennett gave her an enormous introduction, saying, this is what you've all been waiting for. I'm sure you've heard her record on the radio and on jukeboxes and does the hit of the year and heaven can't go on like this. He had to turn to arms. And what's your name? Well, of course, this meant big hoot with laughter. But the girl did a thing and was also well received. Well, next day I ran into tutee again and we were laughing about this. And I said, well. Now, how come there was no one bass player in the band and. He two so far, the one we've dropped the night before and forgot to get another one? Kirtley was once an excellent musician who admired Danny, and I think he wasn't really afraid of anybody.

Speaker But generally, I found that black musicians spoke well of Benny Panama Francis, the drummer who really made his name with the Savoy Sultans at the Savoy Ballroom. He spoke well of Benny. And of course, when I was interviewing Larnell Hampton for the interview that I published, it was published in my book The World of Spring. He was full of praise, he said. Benny idolized guys like Johnny Dance, and Jimmy knew the two early New Orleans clarinet players that were in Chicago. And so when Charlie Christian and I got into a groove, there would be tears in his eyes, in Benyus eyes. He said he he felt the music. He had a lot of soul.

Speaker And that was that was Miles. And if you don't mind starting it again, he said he finally Charlie.

Speaker Oh, yeah. Say, Lionel Richie, I guess just same. And I want to just check.

Speaker He's got like this. Just got.

Speaker OK.

Speaker Lionel Hampton, too, when I did the interview, which was eventually published in my book, The World of Swingy, he couldn't have said nicer things than he did about Danny. Well, first of all, he said that he idolized Johnny DOBs and Jimmy knew that the two new songs.

Speaker And can we just get the T's get confused and some say just specify who is here.

Speaker OK, I got it. All right. Start again with startling. We don't just start from the point where you said Lionel.

Speaker Lionel said that Benny idolized life, fire, Chris.

Speaker That other stuff needn't be in there. We got her anyway. Well, we've got to have. We've got to have that in a really know what the two together. Yeah. But we need to keep it in to cover. Yeah.

Speaker Well, Lionel said that Benny idolized Johnny Dodds and Jimmy knew the two early clown class from New Orleans who were in Chicago in the 20s. And later Lao's said when he and Charlie Christian were playing together and really got into a groove.

Speaker You said there would be tears in Ben, his eyes. He felt the music so much had so much soul.

Speaker Let's talk about that swing. Some of the ideas that you expressed, that's important. Well, here's what I heard.

Speaker Yeah, no, nobody nobody's really ever been satisfied, so satisfied with the definition of swing or really come up to my mom with a very good one. You last basey, you knew more about it than anybody. He said something about building the two compacter foot two. Well, that's not really adequate because you can pat your foot to hold on different kinds of music. I always used to like liken it to a prop plane taking a tiny are rushing along the runway, throbbing and shaking as the engines roaring away. And then when it takes off. And you no longer don't want radiation from the earth flying through the air. That's really like that's like swinging. What's the difference between a band that is just chugging away with a steady rhythm and a band that is swinging? I, I don't. One reason it's difficult to define is that it's not peculiar to jazz. I mean, the second gypsies, those old bands used to swing like mad. And I think the Viennese used to swing the Walsall line and the other the Cuban bands like Swinging for sure. But it's it's a different form of of the white bands.

Speaker I mean, you said Bass. He was probably the white fans. What was it about? Any anything he seemed to prefer the small. Do you think it was anything particularly swinging or what? What was the secret to his swing if you were.

Speaker Well, Benny certainly swung. There's no question about that. You take the original inspiration, we'll say from Jimmy Noom, there's a very lyrical, melodious form of clarinet.

Speaker But Benny, like everybody in Chicago and every musician in Chicago in the 20s, must've been influenced by Louis Armstrong. Obviously, that rhythmic tact that he had not drive. It's partly derived from Louis. And mean the fact that he also had that very marvelous technique on his instrument.

Speaker That's very.

Speaker At any of the other musicians associated with Goodman, you'd help us PAGAD or setup either Lighthill or Teddy, just any stories that would would sort of put them, you know, defining moments.

Speaker If you remember your urinary changes as Lionel Hampton or with Teddy Wilson, to give us a sense of what kind of guys they were or about them in Barney.

Speaker Well, tell me, what was Teddy Wilson? Larnell, in a sense, almost opposite. I would say.

Speaker But.

Speaker Of course, when Teddy began, his major inspiration was all hands, who again is strongly influenced and influenced by Armstrong and influenced Armstrong. Well, Larnell told me that he when he first met Goodman, he could play all of harms. Old solos, including his thing, deep, fast, but Teddy, who was Teddy Wilson, who was greatly helped by Alzheimer's? He refined that style, although he made Smooth's a thing, albeit on less rhythmically stirring.

Speaker But.

Speaker Now, to this day is a kind of rhythmic powerhouse, is never happening. Then when he's got the whole crowd jumping, as you know, that I mean, tillisch thing was more intellectual or cerebral Romanos.

Speaker All right, I think we covered the things that we talked about making us, you know, comes to mind that you would like to throw in.

Speaker Well, somebody who you said that Jimmy Matthews said that he liked the band. I left that out. You know, I knew that.

Speaker How how that. I mean, you talk to so many black musicians about the history of jazz and how it evolved. What do you think was the importance in terms of other musicians careers or musically in the fact that Benny did have an integrated band? He did give blacks a chance to play in his band that introduced them to a larger audience. I mean, my understanding is the jazz, in a sense as a business, is that if you take apart the musical creativity of it, that just as a phenomenon when the depression hit, jazz was in a bad way. Records stopped being bought. Artists were getting fired from recording contracts, contracts. He got interested again. So he was swinging nuts and blacks were playing in white.

Speaker No, no, no. That's not really true. I think despite you, despite the depression, you only have to look at the scope of slavery. Enormous? Well, not enormous. Considerable number of jazz records that were being made all through the Depression.

Speaker Wow.

Speaker What people forget is that at that time, all these bands played for dancing ballrooms. The thing now are not done when Benny comes in the ballrooms to go on. But it's become the music has now become so popular that it turns into big movie houses and it goes on to vaudeville stages, goes into place like the Apollo Theater band every week. The big bands were there were so many in that time and they were not suffering that much. I mean, they didn't get the enormous amount of money.

Speaker What about the integration question? In fact, in a sense, he was bringing this thing to black music that a lot of white audiences. He changed the musical tastes of America.

Speaker Well, oh, it definitely, definitely broadened that show. I mean, why will be there? So put it in your words. Yeah.

Speaker Well, obviously, jazz at that time became the popular music, virtually of America. And that was very largely due to Benny Goodman, not not because he they integrated the band, but because, well, it was he was playing it was mostly the best part of all. The group playing the arrangements were about Fletcher Henderson and Jimmy Mundy. Jimmy Mounding was, oh, hands. Arranger Fletcher Henderson was the leader of what had been the best band in the country, apart from Duke Ellington. So No one to Benish beaten mission. The integration was very important, of course, but it was really the draw and the popular appeal of of of jazz enormously. It became a kind of hero figure to young people.

Speaker Do you think he made any you think Teddy's breaking a correlated that mattered either?

Speaker Well, yeah, that was that was my question. That was the one telling Tony about that.

Speaker But that was very significant that that here he should be playing in a fairly elegant hotel in Chicago with the BlackBerry Humiston. That was very important. And apart from the moral conference, that was also it turned out to be commercially important. You know, when he adds, Larnell, I have two black musicians playing with the band.

Stanley Dance
Interview Date:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
cpb-aacip-504-vt1gh9c323, cpb-aacip-504-0v89g5gv1t, cpb-aacip-504-br8mc8s153
"Stanley Dance, Benny Goodman: Adventures in the Kingdom of Swing." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). 11 Mar. 1993,
(1993, March 11). Stanley Dance, Benny Goodman: Adventures in the Kingdom of Swing. [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET).
"Stanley Dance, Benny Goodman: Adventures in the Kingdom of Swing." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). March 11, 1993. Accessed July 06, 2022


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