The Capitol Session

There are several versions of Stan's first contacts with Capitol Records. Let us start with his own account, in a letter:

"With the help of Red Norvo I got a chance to listen to one of Goodman's rehearsals with the sextet. Mel Powell and Norvo played as expected well but Benny's clarinet playing sounds like a week and distant copy of what he did last year."

 This could have occurred anyplace, not necessarily in the Capitol Studios. The liner note to the Capitol EP, posthoumously issued, says:

"Back in 1947, a handsome young Swede arrived in Hollywood hot on the trail of Benny Goodman. Inquiring at Capitol, the big blond with the red cheek an ingratiating smile introduced himself as Stan Hasselgard and, before too long, found his way to a Goodman recording session and a meeting with his clarinet-playing idol.
Benny eventually listened, in turn, to the clarinet playing of young Hasselgard. He liked what he heard, and in the weeks that followed, so did a lot of other folk along the Pacific coast. Stan became something of a sensation among musicians and jazz fans. Capitol not only recorded his talents, but was making plans to present him nationally as a band leader, when an automobile accident killed Stan.
And so the Hasselgard orchestra was never heard. But the four sides he recorded have become, through the years, increasingly prized by musicians and collectors, and by now are recognized as little classics in jazz. We wish there were more."

His own account were less exuberant and gives an indication of how improvised the session was:
"I have a rather marvellous chance: The day after tomorrow at ten PM I'll record four sides for Capitol in my own name. You can imagine what that means. Barney Kessel and Arnold Ross will participate and Red Norvo asked if he could join in. No kidding. We'll play a little thing by Norvo, a nice tune that Dodo gave me, Sweet and Hot Mop, a riff on Sweet and Lovely by Johnny White, and Autumn in New York, one of the loveliest tunes I've heard. This is a chance of a lifetime. Normally, only the big shots record for the big labels. And what an amazing sound quality."
His next letter reported: 

"Well I've recorded four sides for Capitol. We never rehearsed but it went quite well – all four sides have a nice musical air, and I think they will sell. We recorded a little piece by Barney Kessel, Swedish Pastry, a tribute to the divine Swedish coffee-buns, Sweet and Hot Mop and Who Sleeps. The I ran out of all ideas and had to escape with a slow tune, I'll Never Be the Same.
Ross played really beautifully, just as Barney who has revolutionary ideas. Norvo was half-corny as usual. Pastry and Sweet are the best sides. Kessel's piece is a 100 percent bebop but really fine."

In the studio.
From Fick-Journalen 1949. 


One of the European 78s and the US EP cover – (with a drawing by
David Stone Martin?)


Footnote: The famous Capitol round office building in Holywood was built in 1953