Carnegie Hall, New York – October 6, 1939
H2PP-6679/6680 RCA Victor LPM1506 (all titles)
Runnin’ Wild (BF arr)
Little Brown Jug (BF arr)
Stairway to the Stars (RE vcl)
To You (RE vcl)
One O’Clock Jump
Londonderry Air [Danny Boy] (GM arr)
The Jumpin’ Jive (MH vcl)
F.D.R. Jones (MH & Band vcl)
Hold Tight (MH & Band vcl)
In the Mood
Bugle Call Rag (GM arr)
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) was founded in 1914 to collect and distribute licensing fees from performances of their members’ compositions. To celebrate their 25th anniversary, it was decided to present a series of free-to-the-public concerts, both classical and popular, all over New York. On the evening of October 9th, Carnegie Hall rang with the sounds of four popular dance and swing bands. Paul Whiteman, Fred Waring, Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller each took the stage for a half-hour set that night.
The sounds of that memorable concert were professionally recorded; the Whiteman and Goodman portions have been privately issued. In 1958, RCA Victor commercially published Glenn’s contribution on LP and EP. Since the release of The Glenn Miller Story in 1954, RCA had produced two dozen Miller LP reissues, all of them snapped up by a seemingly insatiable public. The opportunity to release a “new” Glenn Miller album was a no-brainer, resulting in The Glenn Miller Carnegie Hall Concert. It has stayed in print, on vinyl and CD, ever since. Personally, I’ve always found the cover design slightly creepy, with Glenn appearing like a waxen figure. A later UK issue of the LP has a more imaginative design, even though Carnegie Hall appears to be on fire!To modern listeners, this recording provides the only chance to hear the original Miller band in a typical live stage-show performance, likely similar to the shows they were then doing daily at the Paramount Theater.
Apparently, the four bandleaders did not compare notes before the concert, as Whiteman, Goodman and Miller all included SUNRISE SERENADE in their playlists and both Goodman and Miller played ONE O’CLOCK JUMP.
The Miller concert begins with a laudatory introduction by Gene Buck, the President of ASCAP and MC for the evening. After a short statement of their theme, Glenn launches immediately into RUNNIN’ WILD, a sure-to-please-all swinger. The band is miked amazingly well, considering how vintage the recording is, much better than Benny Goodman’s famous Carnegie Hall Concert of the preceding year. Beneke, Hurley and Purtill get a bit frantic and the crowd responds, though the recording only captures the audience response distantly.
After that hot opener, the popular SUNRISE SERENADE is trotted out, with its languorous Beneke sax chorus. LITTLE BROWN JUG has the band singing at the outset, an addition since the record was made. The boys swing it lightly and politely, getting into a good groove. Moe Purtill solidly backs Beneke, Hurley and Glenn’s solos.
Glenn then steps up to introduce Ray Eberle, who obliges with short choruses of two of his early hits, TO YOU and STAIRWAY TO THE STARS.
“Our version of Count Basie’s famous ONE O’CLOCK JUMP” is next on the program, in a nearly five-minute showpiece that really rocks. The band chorus is back, chanting, “Sent for you yesterday and here you come today…” for some reason and forgotten man Al Klink gets a fine solo spot. Never recorded commercially, Glenn liked the number enough to program it on many broadcasts.
“In order to offer a more varied program,” as Glenn says, LONDONDERRY AIR (aka DANNY BOY) follows. This was one of Glenn’s earliest arrangements (but not recorded until 1940) and was often featured during stage shows, with colored lighting effects highlighting the various sections of the band. Wonder if this was done at Carnegie?
After polite applause, the band strikes up a fanfare that begins a rollicking segment by Marion Hutton. She knocks out three hot ones in her effervescent manner, giving an audio approximation of the on-stage fireball antics that consistently wowed audiences. Oddly, all three tunes, THE JUMPIN’ JIVE, F.D.R. JONES and HOLD TIGHT went unrecorded commercially, though lengthier airchecks of each do exist. (For decades, the original LP listed the first song as JIM JAM JUMP, which was finally corrected on the CD.)
What could possibly follow Marion? How about “our latest recording, IN THE MOOD!” Though the record had only been out for a short time, the audience clearly loves it, clapping on the wrong beat during the fade-outs before the ending.
Upping the temperature is BUGLE CALL RAG, “featuring our drummer, Maurice Purtill.” This was another early chart by Glenn, which wouldn’t be set down in the studio until 1940. Moe gives out with one of his more imaginative drum solos and the whole band surely did their choreographed routine, throwing and waving their horns, which was happily preserved in the film, ORCHESTRA WIVES.
A short reprise of MOONLIGHT SERENADE ended the concert and then the band was off to the 34th Street Armory for another concert. They sure were keeping busy!
And once the Paramount engagement ended on October 10th, Glenn headed off on another East Coast tour that continued until the band began it’s second Meadowbrook engagement on November 16th.
Poster for an upcoming recreation of the Goodman and Miller portions of the 1939 ASCAP concert!