Benny Goodman and the art of improvising ~ Swing, jazz and blues - Dance to the music

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Benny Goodman and the art of improvising

In a tv program from 1967 Benny Goodman and some other jazz musicians talk about and show what it means to do jazz improvisation.

In the first clip they show how a new song can be born through improvisation on a another one, here they play In a Mellow Tone and Rose Room at the same time.

In the second video clip they talk about what they feel when they are playing jazz and the role of the rhythm section in a jazz band. They then decide on playing Airmail Special.

Benny Goodman also refers to Airmail Special as Good Enough To Keep. I suppose there is a story behind those names, does anybody have more info about that?

The other musicians are Clark Terry (trumpet), Zoot Sims (saxophone), Ed Shaughnessy (drums), Hank Jones (piano), Gene Bertoncini (guitar) and Milt Hinton on bass.

Some of the things they say can be applied at dancing as well, for example Ed Shaughnessy says: "Even when I play simple things, I try do do it with feeling". I belive that often you don't have to do very fancy moves, you can have a fantastic dance just by doing basic stuff with feeling.

I think that the leader in a dance couple is similar to the rhythm section in a band, the leader provides the pulse and basic structure and upon that the follower can improvise.

A band got to have a good rhythm section if they are going to be great, I have several examples of bands that have very good soloists that plays the melody, but the drummer plays in a mechanical way without feeling and that destroys the tune once you notice that.

What do you think of the video clips with Benny Goodman talking about jazz improvisation? Tell me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone
I Found this website for Benny Goodman's Discography: Includes 10" (78rpm + photo vinyls), Albums mono/stereo....
Nice Work!