This recording of one of Benny Goodman's last concerts in Germany (which was held for NDR's "Sunday Concerts" series) is much more than a newly discovered collector's item for fans of the eternally young American swing tradition. Using minimal recording equipment, Günter Pauler made an exciting and even touching sound-document of Goodman's worldclass playing at the Hamburg Congress Centre on his last European tour in 1981. The impressive interplay between the (then) young Danish and Belgian musicians and the old master of classic jazz on the large stage of the CCH Hamburg showcases great mutual playing synergy and class.
Accompanied by a quintet of Danish top musicians including the violinist Svend Asmussen (who died in 2017) plus the Belgian guitarist Philip Catherine, Goodman's rather traditional clarinet tone comes together with pulsing European jazz to create a surprisingly captivating result. Even after thousands of shows, Goodman still manages to coax exciting moments out of songs from the worldwide jazz canon ranging from "After You've Gone" to the legendary "Sing, Sing, Sing". Whether in an intimate duet with the violinist and vibraphonist Svend Asmussen, or playing "Lady Be Good" with the whole band, the old-master allows his younger accompanying musicians plenty of room for individual interpretation and still drives the quintet repeatedly back to the dance floor of the American swing of the 30s. Goodman's legacy: "It's Easy To Remember", one man, one clarinet, one melody. An ecstaticly swinging evening, captured perfectly and impressively. - Axel Janssen, May 2020
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