From the Record Shelves #103

Let’s Get Friendly

LP Classic Jazz Masters/Riverside RM 8811

Today I listen to a Ben Selvin record for breakfast, which puts me in a good mood. Good sound thanks to transfers by Chris Ellis, good work at the original recording studios in New York and above all a good band and ditto arranger. Or I should rather say “bands” since the personnel varies from session to session when those skilled studio musicians pour out the music of happy toe-tapping tunes.

So what is there to enjoy except to hear a nice tune like the one I’ve chosen. Well, the treatment of the nice tune; first the exposition of the melody in the first chorus with blending of the sax and brass sections, taking turns in playing lead or obbligato. The vocal is by Dick Robertson, one of a handful of studio singer who were very busy at the time. He delivers with good intonation and good diction, so he’s ok with me. Then the verse is played, probably by Mannie Klein, sweetly on trumpet with a mute, and I love the trumpet players use of the different mutes at the time. It’s an art in itself, now sadly forgotten.

Benny Goodman enters with his clarinet (you could hear him briefly on alto in a passage before) and takes one of his well constructed solos, gradually deviating from the melody, to a well planned background. The bridge is played by a trumpet with another mute and then there is the climax with the full ensemble and a coda.

The rhythm section is unknown but the drums and bass are good.