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Monday, May 15, 2006

Since this was considered a drastic change to the popular music and dancing scene, there was much consternation from previous generations much like that experienced in the 1950's by Elvis and in the 1960's by The Beatles. I tend to pick Benny Goodman as the harbinger responsible for the success of Big Band jazz and swing. January 18, 1938 is an important date in this movement as that was when promoter Sol Hurok booked Goodman and his band into the most prestigious venue in the country, Carnegie Hall. Goodman had experienced some hard earned success before the Hall date, but that was the benchmark for all others who followed.
Benny Goodman was born in Chicago on May 30, 1909 and was part of a family of twelve. By the age of 16 he was playing clarinet for various bands and by 1933 was doing recordings with drummer Gene Krupa and trombonist Jack Teagarden. He led his first band in 1934 and then was engaged to perform on radio via NBC’s "Let’s Dance". He also performed on the "National Biscuit Saturday Night" broadcasts. Although he also played standards that appealed to the masses during the day on New York radio, the late night programming allowed him to play his own type of music. Although New York didn’t hear much of these late night broadcasts, the kids in California did because of the three hour time difference. This would later prove to be a major factor in Goodman’s success.

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