On January 16, 1938 Benny Goodman brought his big band – featuring drummer Gene Krupa – into Carnegie Hall. The resulting concert – widely considered one of the most significant events in American music history – helped to usher jazz and swing music into the American cultural mainstream. In this podcast, Daniel shares how this concert still impacts us today, and why modern drummers can learn so much from listening to the recording.
What’s covered in this session:
- A brief history of Benny Goodman’s 1938 Carnegie Hall concert. How it came to be and why it was barrier breaking in the following ways:
- First time a jazz band played in the venerated orchestral hall.
- Featured Goodman’s mixed race band (featuring Lionel Hampton).
- Included members of Duke Ellington and Count Basie’s bands.
- It was recorded with a single mic, but the incredible acoustics of Carnegie Hall allowed for better fidelity than most of the studio recordings of the day.
- From the intense crowd response, you can begin to understand the power of the Swing era, and how it paved the way for the modern rock concert experience.
- Listening to this concert will introduce you to many of the biggest stars of the swing era, featured together in the all-star jam session.
- You can hear Gene Krupa’s drumming clearly, allowing for a fuller understanding of why he was considered the first superstar of the drums, and why he appealed so much to the “every man.”
- Daniel’s discusses the following elements of Krupa’s drumming:
- The high fidelity nature of the recording, which allows you to hear everything he’s doing crystal clear.
- Krupa’s technique, which is based on the early jazz style on which he was raised, and includes:
- Lots of work on the snare drum – press rolls etc.
- Not much timekeeping on the Hi Hat, or what would become known as a ride cymbal.
- Tons of brush work.
- Incredible chops and solo breaks.
- Krupa’s playing displays an incredible diversity, and showed a deep understanding of styles and dynamics. Krupa was no slouch as a drummer!
- Daniel’s “Sing, Sing, Sing” Performance at the Chicago Drum Show in 2015.
- A link to Daniel’s podcast episode detailing Gene Krupa and His continuing influence here in the 21st Century.
- Catherine Tackley’s excellent book about the Benny Goodman Carnegie Hall concert, and the resulting recording.
- Photos from the famous Carnegie Hall concert over the audio of “Don’t Be That Way” (the opening song).
- The complete Carnegie Hall Concert double CD set, (best recording quality, excellent liner notes).
- Photo of the Bob Crosby Orchestra at the height of the Swing era. Notice the vocalists sitting in chairs on the right side of stage, as well as drummer Ray Bauduc perched at his “small group” drum set down front.