For some inexplicable reason, columns devoted to musicians and their lifestyle always seem to lead in the same direction – directly toward a gutter. Perhaps editors are convinced that the public yearns to know of carnal exploits rather than creative triumphs, that Iggy Pop’s latest bloodletting, for example would be better suited for public exposee than his latest single. The editors are undoubtedly right, but let me assure you, dear reader, that my type is capable of serious discourse, too. And there are a bevy of “legit” musical topics on which to expound.
That much said, I have decided to devote the next several hundred words (that’s pretty substantial, isn’t it?) to one of the greatest musical triumphs in history. To properly dig, you must transport yourself back to another era: the year 1938 and a place called New York City. On the evening of January 16, a young bandleader called Benny Goodman assembled one of the greatest musical lineups of all time for a little hoedown at a class joint known as Carnegie Hall. We are most fortunate that the resultant events were recorded, for the fellas that night created a stunning musical document, a testament to the glory of swing and jazz: “Live at Carnegie Hall.”