Even if Benny Goodman really wasn't the King of Swing, he still had one swinging band. During the early days of his reign as the most commercially popular big band leader, Goodman stocked his ensemble with exciting soloists and horn sections that breathed as one. And he had charts from some of the best arrangers in the business, including Fletcher Henderson
, one of the initial architects of the big band sound in the early 1930s. THE BIRTH OF SWING captures Goodman's band in its full flush of glory. The leader's spectacularly assured clarinet playing takes center stage, but gifted instrumentalists like drummer Gene Krupa
, trumpeters Bunny Berigan and Ziggy Ellman, and pianist Jess Stacy were no slouches either. Signature swingers "Sometimes I'm Happy," "King Porter Stomp," and "Stompin at the Savoy" still sound as vibrant as ever, while the band's gorgeous closing number, "Goodbye," can bring a tear to the eye of listeners with even half a heart.