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It’s Ben Pollack Week

March 1, 2010

Ben Pollack and His Park Central Orchestra, from

Ben Pollack and His Park Central Orchestra
Bashful Baby

Recorded in 1929

Ben Pollack had the best ear for talent, or perhaps the second-best, in the history of jazz. (Only Fletcher Henderson could compete with him in discovering great musicians.) His problem was that his musicians outgrew him too quickly. Bigger-name bands used Pollack’s band as a talent mine. Yet after each desertion, he somehow managed to find another undiscovered great, who would in turn soon desert him.

Today we hear Pollack’s band from its best period, when it was stuffed with musicians who would go on to be legends.

The first chorus, vocal, and verse are good but typical hot-dance music of the late 1920s. Then, after the verse, we get a blistering hot chorus from teenage clarinet sensation Benny Goodman. After that comes half a chorus by young Jimmy McPartland—who would normally be the highlight of any dance record if he didn’t have to follow Goodman.

We’ll hear more of Goodman and McPartland in days ahead, along with a few other big names.


From → Hot Dance, Jazz

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