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Goodman, Benny(Benjamin David Goodman), 1909–86, American clarinetist, composer, and band leader, b. Chicago. Goodman studied clarinet at Hull House. In Chicago he had the opportunity to hear (and eventually to play beside) some of the outstanding jazz musicians of the era. He played the clarinet for many years in Chicago and later in California. In 1928 he went to New York City, where in 1934 he organized his own orchestra. In 1935 he formed the Benny Goodman trio with Gene Krupa and Teddy Wilson; it became a quartet in 1936 when Lionel Hampton joined it. Performing for radio, motion pictures, and records, Goodman's orchestra became nationally famous. After 1939 he became known as the King of Swing. In the 1950s Goodman's many tours abroad gained him international esteem. He also achieved success playing classical music for clarinet, particularly with the Budapest String Quartet. He commissioned Béla Bartók to compose Contrasts, for violin, clarinet, and piano, in 1938. Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, and Morton Gould wrote music for him. Goodman wrote The Kingdom of Swing (1939) with Irving Kolodin.
See bio-discographies by D. R. Connor (1958 and 1969); study by J. L. Collier.
(full name, Benjamin David Goodman). Born May 30, 1909, in Chicago. American clarinetist and jazz-band leader.
Goodman was born into the family of a Russian emigrant. At the age of ten he began to study the clarinet, and at 12 he began to perform classical and contemporary music as a virtuoso clarinetist. At 15 he became a professional performer of popular dance music. In 1934 he organized a band that mastered the repertoire and style of the new trend in Negro jazz—so-called swing. By opening up new forms of Negro music for broad sectors of the public, Goodman contributed to the development of jazz. Together with Negro improvisa-tional groups, he created a number of jazz chamber works. He also appeared in films. Goodman toured the Soviet Union in 1962.