Moonglow

Benny Goodman Quartet-Hollywood Hotel (1937)-1

Adpated from Wikipedia:

Moonglow (Eddie DeLange, Will Hudson, Irving Mills) was first recorded by Joe Venuti and his Orchestra in 1933, with later recordings by Ethel Waters and Benny Goodman and his Orchestra in 1934, and has since become a jazz standard, performed and recorded numerous times by a wide array of musical talents.

In the 1950s a medley of this song and “Theme from Picnic” became quite popular, especially in instrumental recordings by Morris Stoloff, as well as by George Cates and his Orchestra.

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From WICN.org’s “Song of the Week” feature, excerpts:

1909 was a particularly good year for giving birth to jazz luminaries; Benny Goodman was born May 30, 1909. In celebration of the centennial of his birth, this week’s song with a moon theme is one that he popularized, “Moonglow.” “Moonglow” was the first big hit for Goodman and his band. In the spring of 1934 Goodman had organized his first big band, a 12-piece group with three saxophones, three trumpets, two trombones, and four rhythm instruments, and he started recording for Columbia Records. The band recorded an instrumental version of “Moonglow” that reached #1 on the pop charts in July of 1934, and stayed on the charts for 15 weeks.

In 1936 Goodman formed his legendary quartet, the first racially integrated quartet with high visibility. It featured Gene Krupa on drums, Teddy Wilson on piano, and Lionel Hampton on vibes. On August 31, 1936, when the quartet was ready to record its first song, Goodman again turned to “Moonglow.” Alan Kurtz, music reviewer at www.jazz.com, makes the following comments about the RCA Victor recording: “B.G.’s come-hither clarinet and Hamp’s voluptuous vibes make “Moonglow” one of jazz’s most romantic encounters. The U.S. population spike nine months after this track’s release was eminently predictable. B.G. was of course best known for fronting the Swing Era’s breakthrough big band, but trio and quartet sessions show his kinder, gentler side. Similarly, Hamp’s flamboyant showmanship would subsequently overshadow his musicianship, but “Moonglow” demonstrates what a splendid, intimate instrumentalist he could be. As for the impeccable Teddy Wilson, his elegance is here displayed only on the first 8-bar bridge, but his classiness is felt throughout. “Moonglow” doesn’t shine, it shimmers.” The recording was the second big hit Goodman had with “Moonglow.”

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The team of Eddie DeLange and Will Hudson wrote “Moonglow.” DeLange and Hudson were songwriters and co-leaders of a swing band. Although DeLange usually wrote the music and Hudson the lyrics, in this case the situation was reversed. Hudson wrote the song as an instrumental and DeLange added the lyrics later.

Benny Goodman and his Orchestra1934 – Benny Goodman -cl, Teddy Wilson-p, Jack Teagarden-trb, Charlie Teagarden-trp, Hank Ross-ts, Harry Goodman-b, Ray McKinley-d

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Ethel Waters1934

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Art Tatum1934

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benny-goodman-quartet-1937-paramount-theatre-ny-1a
Benny Goodman Quartet – 1936 – Benny Goodman (clarinet), Teddy Wilson (piano), Gene Krupa (drums), Lionel Hampton (vibraphone)

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Billie Holiday– Session #68 Los Angeles, after 21 April 1952 Billie Holiday & Her Orchestra (Clef) — Charlie Shavers (tp) Flip Phillips (ts) Oscar Peterson (p) Barney Kessel (g) Ray Brown (b) Alvin Stoller (d) Billie Holiday (v)

As with much of the Billie Holiday information on the site, the above info came from billieholidaysongs.com. I don’t know what “after” 21 April 1952 is supposed to indicate, but I presume it means a date close to that one but slightly later.

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Benny Goodman Quartet with George Duvivier on bass – 1973(?)

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picnic-1955-4-d6

picnic-55-holden-novak-poster-1-f15

Morris Stoloff – Medley “Moonglow/Theme from Picnic.” The second song, Theme from Picnic,” often referred to as “Picnic” (according to wikipedia), was composed by George Duning, with lyrics by Steve Allen. Both Stoloff and George Cates had top ten hits in 1956 with recordings of this medley. A version by Stoloff was used in the soundtrack, for a dance performed by William Holden and Kim Novak. The single, which sounds somewhat different, remained in the top 5 from May through July.

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Morris Stoloff and the Columbia Pictures Orchestra – 1955 or 1956

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George Cates and his Orchestra – The Lawrence Welk Show – 1982

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. carlahoag
    Sep 28, 2011 @ 11:06:36

    Such a wonderful tune. Found your site while searching for Moonglow by the Boswell Sisters. Didn’t they record it? I can’t find it.

    Very good post.

    Reply

  2. doc
    Sep 28, 2011 @ 11:53:12

    Hi Carla,

    The finest Boswell Sisters discography, that by Guy McAfee (guymcafee.com), doesn’t list a recording of Moonglow. I also checked The Red Hot Jazz Archive. No trace of a recording found yet. I did find a post at the site Jazz Lives, titled “Canglosi Cards: Sweet Satori,” in which the author/videographer provides a video of a performance by a trio he happened to meet which specialized in “instant improvisation in the style they loved on songs the Boswells had never recorded…” (video below)

    By 1934 Connee Boswell was making many solo recordings. Among songs involving the moon which she recorded during her solo career are the following:

    1934 – A New Moon is Over My Shoulder
    1935 – Blue Moon
    1935 – Moon Over Miami
    1942 – Moonlight Mood

    Regards,
    doc

    trio: Tamar Korn, Mimi Terris and Naomi Uyama, with The Cangelosi Cards — band members: Marcus Millius: harmonica, Karl Meyer: violin, Dennis Lichtman: clarinet, Jake Sanders: guitar (he set tempos and routines as well), Cassidy Holden: string bass, Matt Musselman: trombone, and Gordon Webster: piano

    Reply

  3. Anonymous
    Dec 05, 2015 @ 14:57:24

    Wonderful collection. What about the version by the Voices of Walter Schumann?

    Reply

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