The program features two soloists. Clarinetist Paul Cosentino is known for his work with the Boilermaker Jazz Band, who perform authentic swing music here and around the country, Pittsburgh jazz favorite Joe Negri played guitar professionally during the Swing Era locally and on the road with Shep Fields' New Music in the 40's.
Only once in the 20th Century did jazz briefly become America's popular music. In 1935 the "Swing Era" began when Benny Goodman and His Orchestra broke through to American youth. Swing became an anthem for of teenagers of that era.
Goodman played to sold out ballrooms and theaters including Pittsburgh's Stanley Theater (now the Benedum Center). Other bands followed, led by Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Count Basie, Duke Ellington and others. Swing itself was created by African-American jazz musicians years earlier. Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Pittsburgher Earl "Fatha Hines, Don Redman, Jimmie Lunceford and Fletcher Henderson (Goodman's acknowledged hero) were among the architects.
My country music-loving grandfather warned my mother, a firm Goodman fan, she'd "go to hell" for listening to Benny. Safe to say, that didn't happen (she liked both styles).
Two clips of vintage 1939 swing, one by Goodman featuring Christian, the other by Shaw.
"Rose Room" Benny Goodman Sextet. The opening graphic shows the personnel with photos of Christian in action.
"Traffic Jam" Artie Shaw from the film Dancing Co-Ed. This is an authentic 1939 stereo recording by the band for the original soundtrack, but not used. Buddy Rich is on drums. He'd soon leave to join Tommy Dorsey.