Benny Goodman

Jazz Clarinetist
Born May 30, 1909
Hometown Chicago, Illinois
Died Jun 13, 1987
Other Names Goodman, Benjamin...

Benjamin David “Benny” Goodman was an American jazz and swing musician, clarinetist and bandleader; widely known as the "King of Swing". In the mid-1930s, Benny Goodman led one of the most popular musical groups in America. His January 16, 1938 concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City is described by critic Bruce Eder as "the single most important jazz or popular music concert in history: jazz's 'coming out' party to the world of 'respectable' music.… Read More

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  • Alice Hammond Duckworth
    Married 1942 - 1978

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1909 Birth Born on May 30, 1909.


1921 - 1923 2 More Events
1924 15 Years Old He attended Lewis Institute (now Illinois Institute of Technology) in 1924 as a high school sophomore, while also playing the clarinet in a dance hall band. (He was awarded an honorary LL.D. from IIT in 1968.) When Goodman was 16, he joined one of Chicago's top bands, the Ben Pollack Orchestra, with which he made his first recordings in 1926. … Read More
1926 17 Years Old 1 More Event
On December 10, 1926, David Goodman was killed in a traffic accident. … Read More
1928 19 Years Old 1 More Event
A notable March 21, 1928 Victor session found Goodman alongside Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, and Joe Venuti in the All-Star Orchestra, directed by Nat Shilkret. … Read More


1930 21 Years Old There were also a number of commercial studio sides recorded for Melotone Records between late 1930 and mid-1931 under Goodman's name. … Read More
1934 25 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1934 Goodman auditioned for NBC's Let's Dance, a well-regarded three-hour weekly radio program that featured various styles of dance music. … Read More
In July 1935, a record of the Goodman band playing the Henderson arrangements of "King Porter Stomp" backed with "Sometimes I'm Happy", Victor 78 25090, had been released to ecstatic reviews in both Down Beat and Melody Maker. … Read More
Slingerland Drum Company had been calling Krupa the "King of Swing" as part of a sales campaign, but shortly after Goodman and crew left Chicago in May 1936 to spend the summer filming The Big Broadcast of 1937 in Hollywood, the title "King of Swing" was applied to Goodman by the media. … Read More
1937 28 Years Old In late 1937, Goodman's publicist Wynn Nathanson attempted a publicity stunt by suggesting Goodman and his band should play Carnegie Hall in New York City. … Read More
1938 29 Years Old Goodman's first classical recording dates from April 25, 1938 when he recorded Mozart's Clarinet Quintet in A major, K. 581, with the Budapest Quartet. … Read More


1942 33 Years Old Benny Goodman married Hammond's sister Alice Frances Hammond (1913–1978) on Friday, March 20, 1942. … Read More
1946 37 Years Old In 1946, he met Ingolf Dahl, an emigre classical composer on the faculty of the University of Southern California, who was then musical director of the Victor Borge show.
1948 39 Years Old They played chamber music together (Brahms, Milhaud, Hindemith, Debussy) and in 1948 Goodman played in the world premiere performance of Dahl's Concerto a Tre.


1949 40 Years Old In 1949, when he was 40, Goodman decided to study with Reginald Kell, one of the world's leading classical clarinetists. … Read More
1953 44 Years Old 1 More Event
After forays outside of swing, Goodman started a new band in 1953. … Read More


1962 53 Years Old In 1962, the Benny Goodman Orchestra toured the Soviet Union, as part of a cultural exchange program between the two nations after the Cuban missile crisis and the end of the Cold War, as they sought to normalize relations between the two countries. … Read More


1975 66 Years Old Goodman appeared on a 1975 PBS salute to Hammond but remained at a distance. … Read More
1985 76 Years Old On June 25, 1985, Goodman appeared at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City for "A Tribute to John Hammond". … Read More
1986 77 Years Old Despite increasing health problems, he continued to play until his death from a heart attack in New York City in 1986 at the age of 77, in his home at Manhattan House, 200 East 66th Street. … Read More
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