Sunday, August 7, 2011

Down South Camp Meeting

... performed by its composer, Fletcher Henderson, in 1934:

In his book on Henderson, Jeffrey Magee writes that "The version of 'Down South Camp Meeting' that Henderson's band recorded in 1934 presents the piece as it would be played by [Benny] Goodman for years.  ... The final strain deserves special mention for bringing together several Hendersonian features that cam to the fore in 1932–34: the looping harmonic progression, which [Gunther] Schuller and [Martin] Williams hear as a 'cousin' of 'King Porter Stomp,' the use of clarinets as a timbral alternative to saxophones, and the call-and response dialogue between reeds and brass."  This strain starts at 2:15 on the recording (notice how Henderson has the reed section drop out at 2:11, giving the players four seconds to put down their saxophones and pick up their clarinets).

Here's Benny Goodman playing it in late 1985, six months before he died:

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