AIR MAIL SPECIAL
In 1941, Benny Goodman led the second of his great ensembles. Only Teddy Wilson, Irving Goodman, and arranger Jimmy Mundy remained from the 1935-39 band that jump-started the swing era of popular music. This band still played the music of Fletcher Henderson, but Eddie Sauter was contributing a great deal to its musical personality. This band would also highlight the early work of pianist/arranger Mel Powell. Air Mail Special was originally titled Good Enough To Keep, which was recording session-speak for "This may not be the performance that we want to release to the public, but let's hold on to it just in case." Many of these alternate performances were eventually released to the public, in many cases to the consternation of the musicians themselves, who didn't enjoy some of their lesser efforts being heard. Of course, some alternate performances are better than the ones that were released, only held back because of a single mistake. It was Mundy who arranged this for the Goodman band, and he is even cut in on composer credit, a generous gesture on Benny's part, who also took a piece for himself. As we know, the tune was the sole creation of guitarist Charlie Christian, who wrote a number of pieces that Goodman played mostly in small-group settings. Mundy also arranged this for Count Basie and Harry James, and played it when he led his own big band in 1946. Please note that this is the complete arrangement from the original parts in the Benny Goodman library. Some sections were cut by Goodman, but restored here. Mundy makes interesting use of stop-time in this arrangement, and these sections should get extra attention so that the band sounds like one person. This arrangement, like all of Goodman's arrangements, was meant to be danced to, so it really should not be played too fast.