SoundStage! Music Online Editor's Pick Archives
January/February 2000

Benny Goodman - Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert
Columbia/Legacy C2K 65143, 1999

SnapShot! Rating:
****

Offered here in its entirety for the first time, this two-disc set chronicles the King of Swing and his orchestra, which includes Count Basie, Harry James, Lionel Hampton and Gene Krupa, in a 1938 concert that is perhaps jazz's coming-out party. The wealth of music represented here -- 49 tracks in total -- is enhanced by the inclusion of previously unreleased material and a booklet that gives background on the concert and annotation on the numbers themselves. Columbia/Legacy does this kind of thing better than anyone, imparting a completeness and scholarly air to its remastered sets that no other label can touch with regularity. The sound is fair at best -- on-site recordings from 1938 rarely sound better -- but it's a small price to pay for music so elemental, organic and historic....Marc Mickelson


Marty Grebb - Smooth Sailin'
Telarc CD-83478, 1999

SnapShot! Rating:
***

"Who the heck is Marty Grebb?" was what I asked myself initially, and then "How did he get Steve Cropper, Jim Keltner, Ivan Neville, Taj Mahal and Bonnie Raitt to play on his album?" Grebb, at times a session player for the likes of Raitt, Willie Nelson and Roseanne Cash, and at times a member of The Dells, The Buckinghams and Fabulous Rhinestones, plays piano, B3, clavinet, sax and guitar as well as sings on Smooth Sailin'. I was expecting to dislike this disc because of its professed "blues and R&B grooves" as well as its star power, but the musicianship and jam-session quality on display won me over. If you are still apprehensive, give "Soul Mate" or "On the Lookout" a spin at the listening station of your favorite music emporium and see what you think....Marc Mickelson


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