About Benny Goodman

Benny Goodman, born on May 30, 1909 in Chicago, Illinois, was an American musician. Often referred to as the King of Swing, he is best remembered as one of the greatest clarinetists of all time, reaching the height of his popularity in the 1930s when swing was most popular. Goodman died of heart failure on June 13, 1986 in New York City.

The Famous Carnegie Hall Concert

Music history changed the day Benny Goodman was approached by his publicist, Wynn Nathanson, about performing in Carnegie Hall. Fearful that classical audiences would not accept the exciting and different genre that is jazz, Benny was hesitant and nervous. In true Benny fashion, he threw himself into his work and rehearsed until he was confident that he’d reached perfection.

Goodman on stage at Carnegie Hall, 1938 (Courtesy of the Carnegie Hall Archives)

"It takes the black keys and the white keys both, to make perfect harmony."


“Sometimes when you start losing detail, whether it’s in music or in life, something as small as failing to be polite, you start to lose substance.”

Historic Photo Gallery