Essay on Benny Goodman, King of Swing

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Benjamin David Goodman was born in Chicago on May 30, 1909, the ninth of twelve children born to David and Dora Goodman, who both emigrated from Russia but met in America.
David Goodman eked out a minimal living for his family by working for a tailor in a sweatshop. To help alleviate the family’s poverty, the children were urged to work as soon as they were old enough.
For entertainment, David would take his youngest children to Douglas Park on Sundays to hear free band concerts. It was here that he first heard of the Kehelah Jacob band. Lessons were given for one quarter at the Kehelah Jacob synagogue. David Goodman enrolled his three youngest sons with the hopes that one day, their music would lift them out of poverty. It was here
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This led to his first professional gig in 1921 in a vaudeville show at Central Park Theater.
In 1923, at the age of 14, Benny Goodman left school to play with local bands, including Bill Grimm’s riverboat orchestra with Bix Beiderbecke. There is an interesting anecdote about Benny’s first meeting with Bix. One day, Benny received an emergency call from Grimm, asking him to fill in for Grimm’s clarinetist, who was ill. Benny arrived early in the day at the dock where the boat on which he was to perform was moored. Benny stepped onto the bandstand and immediately heard a shout to “get off there, kid! Stop that fooling around!” (Benny Goodman, 1979) Benny turned to see a fellow about four or five years older, holding a trumpet and staring disdainfully at Benny. That fellow, Bix Beiderbecke, did not want to hear any explanations from this young kid in knickers. However, Bill Grimm arrived before any trouble could start and introduced the boys. The young men hit it off and much fun and great music stemmed from that first session together.
At that same time, Benny and his high school friends had earned the nickname,
“The Wild West Side Mob”, not for their behavior, but because of their free, ragged, style of jazz. While this style made them great jam session musicians, it made it difficult for them to find work. Hot jazz was not in demand. Nevertheless, Benny’s ability to play cool, sweet jazz on demand ensured that he found plenty of

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