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Long live the King of Swing!

We’ve got the swinging-est rhythm section in town and a front line who feel this music from their fingertips to their toes. Whether playing Carnegie Hall or stompin’ at the Savoy, Benny Goodman got people dancing everywhere—now at 92Y.

Bill Charlap, piano
Ken Peplowski, clarinet
Warren Vaché, cornet
Bucky Pizzarelli, guitar
Joe Locke, vibes
Peter Washington, bass
Dennis Mackrel, drums

 

Join us for more Jazz! This event can be purchased as part of a 2-concert package.

 

Jazz in July is partially endowed by a generous gift from Simona and Jerome A. Chazen.

Interview with Benny Goodman by Greg Jackson, from CBS’s “Signature” series, 1981.

Benny Goodman Orchestra performing “Sing, sing, sing”; followed by Benny Goodman Quartet performing “I’ve Got a Heartful of Music,” from Hollywood Hotel, 1937 (the first appearance by a racially mixed band in a film).

Benny Goodman Orchestra and Peggy Lee performing “Why Don’t You Do Right,” from Stage Door Canteen, 1943.

Benny Goodman Quartet performing “Moonglow,” from NBC’s “All-Star Swing Festival, Nov 29, 1972.

Amateur film about Benny Goodman’s historic 1938 Carnegie Hall concert—includes rare newsreel footage and photographs of the actual concert.

Benny Goodman as the mystery guest on “What’s My Line,” July 22, 1962.

On the Blog

(Click the names below to expand info.)

On Bennygoodman.com

Visit Benny Goodman’s official website for detailed information on his career and music, a photo gallery, various downloads and more. Also visit the Benny Goodman Facebook page.

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On pbs.org

The microsite for PBS’ “Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns” has posted an extensive biography of Benny Goodman, including audio clips.

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On smithsonianmag.com

In the April 2009 issue of Smithsonian magazine, there is an article by Owen Edwards about one of Benny Goodman’s clarinets that is now part of the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History:

In 1990, four years after Goodman's death at age 76, [Goodman’s] daughters Rachel Goodman Edelson and Benjie Alice Goodman Lasseau donated the instrument, along with a music stand and chair used by their father during practice sessions, to the Smithsonian. "He practiced all the time," recalls Lasseau, "and he always seemed to have a clarinet handy. He even practiced during the commercial breaks of the World Series."

Click here for the full article

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On 92Y.org

Ken Peplowski is Jazz in July’s reigning clarinetist. Since his debut in 1991, he has played in 17 of the past 22 festivals, along with various Lyrics & Lyricists and Jazz Piano at 92Y programs. Since he serves as Benny Goodman’s unofficial stand-in for “Benny Goodman: Let’s Dance,” he agreed to a quick Q&A:

What was your first meeting with Benny Goodman?
The first time when I was 16.  He came to my home town of Cleveland, and my family and I saw him play. Then, I wound up playing in his last full–time working big band in NYC!! Our audition as a big band was frightening—he was a tough bandleader, very demanding in what he wanted, yet very mercurial at the same time.

When did you first hear Benny Goodman’s music—was it in a concert, from a recording, on the radio?
I first heard Benny on a record. It was one of the collections of broadcasts made by his late-1930s bands—fantastic!

What’s your favorite Goodman song/recording, and why?
There's a live version of "Stealin' Apples" from around 1939 where he opens up the chart and plays chorus after inspiring chorus. Incidentally, he did something similar on the same arrangement with our band in a concert at Radio City Music Hall circa 1985...!

What makes Goodman stand out among clarinetists—jazz, classical or otherwise?
I always felt that he had the greatest rhythmic drive, inventiveness, and sense of pure joy of all the clarinetists...

What was his most lasting imprint on jazz?
Hard to say—the concepts of swinging, big band feel, rhythmic drive, harmonics, etc. made a quantum leap forward with Benny. Jazz as we know it now would be completely different without him.

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On kenpeplowski.com

As today’s foremost jazz clarinetist, Ken Peplowski is constantly asked by other jazz artists to perform and record with them. He is also constantly asked about Benny Goodman (which makes 92Y especially grateful for the Q&A above).

On his website, he has posted a comprehensive interview (“pretty much every thing I have to say about Benny Goodman the musician”) which he (sort-of) facetiously calls “My Last Interview about Benny Goodman.” Here are two excerpts:

To this day, his shadow is, for better or for worse, over all of us. Every clarinet player, almost everybody, I have talked to guys like Paquito D’Riviera and Eddie Daniels, we joke about this. We get reviews of things we have done that have nothing at all to do with Benny’s music or his style of playing, and they still reference Benny. But, that is a testament to how strong and influential he was as a player and bandleader. In a way, his band was as popular as the Beatles. When you listen to broadcasts of those late–1930s bands that he had and people are going absolutely crazy, yelling and screaming.

Benny broke racial barriers, he didn’t care about race. People would ask him how he felt about hiring an integrated band and breaking down racial barriers, looking for a surface answer, and he would reply that he never thought of it that way. He always hired the people he thought would play the best in his groups. Which is really a great answer. That is the Benny Goodman, above all else, that should be remembered. One of the greatest artists of the last century, I really think that.


Click here for the full interview.

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Artist Bios

(Click the names below to expand info.)

Bill Charlap, artistic director & piano

This year marks Bill Charlap’s ninth summer as artistic director of 92nd Street Y’s Jazz in July summer festival. One of the world’s premier jazz pianists, Mr. Charlap has performed with many leading artists of our time, ranging from Phil Woods and Tony Bennett to Gerry Mulligan and Wynton Marsalis. He is known for his interpretations of American popular songs and has recorded albums featuring the music of Hoagy Carmichael, Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin. Time magazine wrote, “Bill Charlap approaches a song the way a lover approaches his beloved…no matter how imaginative or surprising his take on a song is, he invariably zeroes in on its essence.”

In 1997, Mr. Charlap formed the Bill Charlap Trio with bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington (no relation), now recognized as one of the leading groups in jazz. In 2000, he signed with Blue Note Records and has since received two Grammy nominations, for Somewhere: The Songs of Leonard Bernstein and The Bill Charlap Trio: Live at the Village Vanguard. The Trio performs all over the world; their New York engagements include regular appearances at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and they will return to the Village Vanguard for a two-week run this fall. In 2009, Mr. Charlap was pianist and musical director for The Blue Note 7, an all-star jazz septet celebrating the legacy of Blue Note Records on its 70th anniversary. The septet performed a 50-city tour and released the CD, Mosaic: A Celebration of Blue Note Records.

Mr. Charlap’s experience as concert producer extends beyond Jazz in July. In the mid-1990s, he was the musical director of “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, A Celebration of Johnny Mercer,” part of New York’s JVC Jazz Festival. He has produced several concerts for Jazz at Lincoln Center and an evening of George Gershwin’s music at the Hollywood Bowl.

Born in New York City, Mr. Charlap began playing the piano at age three. His father was Broadway composer Moose Charlap, whose credits include Peter Pan, and his mother is singer Sandy Stewart, who appeared on the Ed Sullivan and Perry Como shows and earned a Grammy nomination for her recording of “My Coloring Book.” In 2006, Mr. Charlap and Ms. Stewart released the acclaimed CD, Love Is Here to Stay on Blue Note; their second release, Something to Remember, on Ghostlight, was released this past January. They have appeared at The Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel and Feinstein’s at the Regency and they have won New York Bistro and Nightlife awards. In February 2012, they appeared on the 92Y Jazz series.

Mr. Charlap is married to renowned jazz pianist Renee Rosnes. The two artists often collaborate in a duo piano setting. In 2010, Mr. Charlap and Ms. Rosnes made Double Portrait, released on the Blue Note label and recorded at 92nd Street Y.

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Ken Peplowski, clarinet

With a career now spanning more than three decades, Ken Peplowski began playing in polka bands in his native Cleveland, then discovered jazz in his early teens. Within a few years, he was playing with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, and since then, he has played with such artists as Mel Tormé, Hank Jones, Peggy Lee, George Shearing, Rosemary Clooney, Dave Frishberg, Erich Kunzel and Madonna. He can also be heard on the soundtracks to Woody Allen movies, including Sweet and Lowdown. Mr. Peplowski has made 20 albums as leader, including 2011’s In Search of (Capri), Noir Blue (Capri) and Memories of You (Venus) with the Ken Peplowski Quartet. He conducts many educational workshops and is music director of the Eugene Jazz Festival and jazz director of the Oregon Festival of American Music. His website is kenpeplowski.com.

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Warren Vaché, cornet

Trumpeter Warren Vaché has appeared at virtually every major jazz venue and festival in the world; he is currently appearing at the Metropolitan Room every Tuesday night with the renowned chanteuse Annie Ross. Among other artists with whom he has performed and recorded are Benny Goodman, Rosemary Clooney, Benny Carter, Gerry Mulligan, Bobby Short, Phil Woods and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. A guest artist on countless recordings, Mr. Vaché has recorded more than 35 albums under his own name, the most recent being Warren Vaché: Ballads and Other Cautionary Tales, released in 2011 by Arbors. His other recent CDs include the award-winning 2gether (Nagel-Heyer) with Bill Charlap, My Shining Hour (Nagel-Heyer) and Don’t Look Back with the Scottish Ensemble (Arbors). His website is warrenvache.com.

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Bucky Pizzarelli, guitar

Seven-string jazz guitar legend John “Bucky” Pizzarelli has traveled the world with legends like Benny Goodman, Benny Carter, Zoot Sims and George Shearing. He got his break with the Vaughn Monroe Orchestra, and as an NBC staff musician, he played in the bands of Kate Smith, Jack Paar and Johnny Carson. He has also performed with orchestras and has played at the White House three times. Mr. Pizzarelli has made 30 solo albums and hundreds of recordings with artists like Ray Charles, Rosemary Clooney, Michael Feinstein and his two sons, John and Martin. He has received two honorary degrees, he was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame, and he has written three books on his technique. With only two exceptions, Mr. Pizzarelli has participated in every Jazz in July festival for the past 20 years.

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Joe Locke, vibes

Joe Locke is widely considered to be one of the major voices of his instrument, expressing his artistic vision as composer, bandleader and conceptualist. This is in no small part due to his many recent solo and ensemble projects, including his Blues & Ballads quartet’s new release Lay Down My Heart, The Joe Locke / Geoffrey Keezer Group’s Signing (both Motéma) and the award winning album Live In Seattle (Origin); as well as Four Walls of Freedom (Sirocco), Force of Four; and VIA (both Origin), the third album by Storms/Nocturnes, a chamber trio he co-leads with saxophonist Tim Garland and pianist Geoffrey Keezer. These projects have garnered critical praise and international honors. Among his other recent releases are this year’s Wish Upon a Star (Motéma) with the Joe Locke Quartet and Lincoln's Symphony Orchestra. His website is joelocke.com.

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Peter Washington, bass

Peter Washington has a discography of more than 450 recordings. Born in Los Angeles, Mr. Washington played classical bass as a teen and majored in English literature at UC Berkeley, where he became interested in jazz. He was invited by Art Blakey to join the Jazz Messengers in New York. From there, Mr. Washington became part of two of jazz’s most celebrated trios: the Tommy Flanagan Trio, and for the past 15 years, the Bill Charlap Trio. Mr. Washington’s freelance work roster is a “who’s who” of jazz, including Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Milt Jackson, Johnny Griffin, Bobby Hutcherson and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band. In 2009, Mr. Washington was part of The Blue Note 7, a septet formed in honor of the 70th anniversary of Blue Note Records. The group recorded the album Mosaic and toured the US in 2009.

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Dennis Mackrel, drums

Dennis Mackrel is a highly respected drummer, composer, arranger and conductor. A native of Nebraska, he is equally at home in big bands or small groups. Mr. Mackrel’s performance credits include stints with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the Hank Jones Trio, the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band, Tony Bennett, Quincy Jones, the George Shearing Quintet and the McCoy Tyner Big Band, whose Grammy Award-winning CDs include Mr. Mackrel’s arrangements. His discography numbers over 100 and his touring schedule has taken him to Europe three times this year, once as the leader of the Count Basie Orchestra, whose May tour included five concerts in Russia, and twice as guest conductor for the WDR Big Band based in Cologne, Germany. His website is dennismackrelmusic.com.

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Eligible patrons will be able to order priority registration online.

 

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