Benny Goodman's groundbreaking jazz lives on in Taunton concert

Chard & Ilminster News: PETE Long pictured at a jazz workshop with students at Queen's College. PETE Long pictured at a jazz workshop with students at Queen's College.

A GROUND-BREAKING concert – one of the most famous in jazz’s history – is being reprised, note-for-note, in Taunton by one of Jools Holland’s right-man men.

On Friday June 6 Pete Long and his 15 “Goodmen” bring Benny Goodman's legendary 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert to Queen’s College.

A huge star of his time, Goodman handpicked some of the period’s top jazz players for his ground-breaking, racially integrated band.

The concert’s jazz recording was the first to sell a million copies; the event, widely regarded as a pivotal moment.

On Thursday, jazzman Long, who has performed for BBC Radio 2 and with Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, fired-up the jazz spirit of Queen’s College’s young musicians.

Pete said: “Benny Goodman was one of my big influences. He’s the most magnificent clarinet player, and one of the great technicians of jazz.

“When it comes to that pre-war, optimistic swing, still, Benny Goodman’s the man. It’s very cheerful, lively, and very demanding – lots of things to attract a competitive man.”

He added: “Drum geeks will also like to know that the drum we’ll be using is a 1936 Slingerland Radio King.”

Miles Quick, head of music at Queen’s College, said: “The workshop went really well, and lots of people got involved. Pete was extremely lively and got them all going, and we were very pleased with it. The show will be absolutely fantastic and we look forward to welcoming the Taunton community.”

Tickets for the 7.30pm concert, organised by John Packer Ltd, cost £15 for adults (£10 concessions) on www.johnpacker.co.uk, 01823-282386, or from Taunton Information Centre.

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