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King of Swing Benny Goodman

King of Swing Benny Goodman

Benny Goodman was born in Chicago in 1909 and made his 1921 debut at the age of 12 at the Central Park Theater on the West Side. He learned to play the clarinet and was given formal lessons at the famous Hull House at the corner of Polk and Halsted. He later played with the “Austin High School gang.”

By the early 1930s Benny had a reputation as an inventive music aranger and composer. He produced the first Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert in New York in 1938.

One of the most memorable features of that concert was the first extended drum solo in the history of Jazz when Gene Krupa, another Chicagoan and Austin High alum, played the drums in the middle of Sing, Sing, Sing for so long that other musicians cleared the stage and then returned a few minutes later in time to pick up the rest of the song.

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