Listen to a playlist of all our audio posts here.
Posts tagged with swing.
American jazz musician and bandleader Artie Shaw poses with a cigarette for a portrait, 1936.
Benny Goodman, giving “The Ray,” Goodman’s trademark glare that he bestowed on a musician who failed to perform to his demanding standards.
“The Ray” took its place alongside such other mystifying idiosyncrasies as Benny’s endless quest for the perfect reed and his inability to remember his sidemen’s names. The cruel contempt it seemed to convey may or may not have been always intended.
According to Helen Oakley, “Benny was so enormously endowed I don’t think he could ever get it in his head that no, other people weren’t. It was more or less a matter of his thinking to himself, ‘How could you? What’s the matter with you?’”
Still, “The Ray” upset his musicians terribly, undermining their confidence in their own abilities and nullifying the enthusiasm they brought with them when they first joined the band.
— Swing, Swing, Swing: The Life and Times of Benny Goodman by Russ Firestone