Carnegie Hall and Benny Goodman

I have had a lot of high points in my career but this certainly ranks at the top. Great pianist John Bunch called me one day from the Astor Hotel and said Benny Goodman needs a trumpet player can you come down here right away which i certainly did.  After spending 2 years with Benny Goodman in his sextet being able to sit in Harry James chair at Carnegie Hall playing lead trumpet on the original 1938 charts and solos was the cherry on the cake. Anyone that was at the original 1938 concert was allowed to sit on the stage that night with the band. As i was playing I could see years dropping off the faces as those people who were teenagers “bobbysoxers” at the time reliving that historic night. The music paper was all brown from the Library of Congress and my parts had little handwritten notes on it from Harry James. At the end Benny’s daughter came on stage and gave Benny’s clarinet to Issac Stern for the Carnegie Hall Archives. Kudo’s to Bob Wilber for putting this together at the urging of his brother in law Grady Jensen the former Mayor of Scarsdale where Bob grew up and making it happen along with the Jersey Jazz Society.

I just received a tape from Bob Wilber I didn’t know existed of that night at Carnegie Hall in 1988. Apparently it was sitting in his archives which reminded me of the story Benny’s daughter told that night about finding the acetates of the original 1938 concert years later in the linen closet. Here is a sample of the Harry James piece i did on “Shine” . The story goes that Harry at 21 years old had tremendous admiration as everyone did for Louis Armstrong and wanted to take a try at a short version of “Shine” a famous Louie piece as a tribute. Bob through me the challenge that night and i took it playing my own solo. Glenn


Here is another arrangement written by the great Harry James 21 years old at the time. What a thrill not only playing lead trumpet but the solo !  For all you Jitterbugger’s remember the excitement when this music first hit your ears and feet !!

Life Goes To A Party :

Trumpeter Ziggy Elman did a famous solo on the Jewish classic “Bei Mir Bistu Shein”  .  I am not Jewish for sure but have done enough Jewish weddings where i was able to get the spirit with my own solo !

This is the famous jam session segment of the concert. What an honor to play with all these jazz legends. I take the 2nd trumpet solo after Doc Cheatum.

This is the intermission that night.  It was amazing to find out Issac Stern was a jazz fan and friend of Benny Goodman. He tells a story growing  up and  listening to Benny and coming to NY and hanging out on 52nd street.  Also Benny’s daughter gives an interesting backround on the 1938 recording and gives Benny’s clarinet to Issac Stern for the Carnegie Hall archives.  What a night !

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s