Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Benny Goodman Orchestra: Bugle Call Rag

Bugle Call Rag, a jazz standard written by Jack Pettis, Billy Meyers and Elmer Schoebel, was first recorded by the New Orleans Rhythm Kings in 1922 as "Bugle Call Blues."

From a 1936 performance: The Benny Goodman Orchestra with Harry Goodman, Arthur Rollini and Gene Krupa doing a version of "Bugle Call Rag." Such performances soon established Goodman as the King of Swing, and paved the way to  legitimize swing jazz as a legitimate music form.

The famous concert at New York City's Carnegie Hall on January 16, 1938, did just that, the first time swing music was played at the venue usually reserved for classical music. The concert was a success on many fronts. Looking back, it was as important to the nation as it was to Goodman and his ensemble. And it took a man like Benny Goodman to lead the way.

In many ways this concert was a defining moment in American history, establishing the United States as a  progressive free nation, at least in New York City, and helping it break away from its restrictive, puritanical roots, which would be more complete with rock 'n roll music twenty years later. Some detractors feel otherwise, looking at it as a breaking away from old established traditions. One can't deny, however, that the music is wonderful and uplifting, making you want to get up and dance.

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