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Benny Goodman at Carnegie Hall

Today (January 18, 2018) is the eightieth anniversary of Benny Goodman’s concert at Carnegie Hall. I know this because I heard a piece on NPR while driving back from Des Moines.

The concert was important for many reasons. It was an early [1] instance of popular music at a venue whose primary genre was classical. The NPR reporters suggest that the concert helped transition jazz and swing from something you dance to in clubs to something you listen to carefully in concert halls or elsewhere [2]. It may have been the first time that African Americans were on that stage (or that whites and African Americans played together on that stage). The concert is also a who’s who of great players, including not only Benny Goodman, but Harry James, Red Ballard, Teddy Wilson, Lionel Hampton, Gene Krupa, Count Basie, and more.

As you might guess, the music is pretty damn great. And it’s available for free on the Internet Archive.

You should listen to it. Now.

Interested in more? The Interweb is a marvelous thing, and you should be able to search as well as I can. Still, I must admit that I’ve enjoyed looking at

In addition to leading the band, Benny Goodman played clarinet. Once again, I’m left to wonder: Why aren’t there clarinets in our school jazz bands?

[1] The first?

[2] Still, listening to many of the songs, I’m tempted to dance, and I’m not much of a dancer [3].

[3] A video that may be from the concert does show people tapping their toes.

Version 1.0 of 2018-01-16.