This is a truly lovely collection of mellow melodies from the clarinet master. There are 48 songs on this double cd, 19 from his small groups, and the rest from his orchestras, and if you listen to the Amazon samples you'll notice the excellently re-mastered sound quality, even of the oldest recordings.
You also get ten enchanting vocal pieces, from Jack Teagarden, Peggy Lee, Lionel Hampton, Mildred Bailey and Helen Forrest, but for me Helen Ward's rich, sensuous tones are a real highlight.
Although Goodman made his big breakthrough with his orchestra in 1935, for me the smaller group recordings have greater clarity of melody, and a greater intimacy than the more powerful big-band sound, allowing Goodman's clarinet work to soar like a lark, or entwine you in its honeyed tones. Almost all the pieces hover around the standard 3 minute format, except for 'Sing,Sing,Sing' which clocks in at a mighty 8.44, and where his orchestra come closest to sounding ready to explode!
There are too many lovely pieces for me to select highlights, as I'd be here all day. Suffice it to say that this is a really sumptuous collection, and Avid are to be commended on the sound quality; it's a real listening treat. The added joy is that you get almost 160 minutes of beautiful music at such a bargain price. Buy now before you miss out!