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Benny Goodman: A King Whose Music Delighted America

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He is considered one of the most important musical figures of the swing and jazz landscape. Benjamin David Goodman, better known as Benny Goodman, grew up in Chicago, and was born in May, 1909, to a numerous Jewish family. His parents were immigrants and they were extremely poor. They had to live in the ghetto, were the house had no heat and they often had nothing to eat.

Even though they underwent these tough life conditions, and as most of the musicians, Benny started to take clarinet lessons when he was very young; he was just ten years old. His father encouraged him to play music to earn some money to help the family. He rapidly was considered to play in the local synagogue. The clarinet lessons Goodman took were sponsored by the Hull House; this was a charity organization that helped Benny to expand his musical talent.

He kept on practicing at least three hours per day; it is said that he was a perfectionist. Being a young adult, Goodman left Chicago to live in New York; he actually moved with his family and gave them support during the Depression. Here he found the opportunity to participate of several bands in places like Billie Holiday’s. Two of the people he played with, were Lionel Hampton and Teddy Wilson. His inspiration came from the master of jazz, Louis Armstrong.

His dream of creating his own Big Band became a reality in 1934, when they began to perform at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles. The success of their music was such that he was granted the nickname of The King of Swing. They quickly became nationwide known: thousands of admirers gathered in the different theaters and places they performed.

Unfortunately, a significant star, Mr. Benny Goodman passed away in 1986.

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