Benjamin David “Benny” Goodman (May 30, 1909 – June 13, 1986) was an American jazz and swing musician, clarinetist and bandleader; known as the “King of Swing”.
In the mid-1930s, Benny Goodman led one of the most popular musical groups in America. His January 16, 1938 concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City is described by critic Bruce Eder as “the single most important jazz or popular music concert in history: jazz’s ‘coming out’ party to the world of ‘respectable’ music.”
Goodman’s bands launched the careers of many major names in jazz, and during an era of segregation, he also led one of the first well-known racially integrated jazz groups. Goodman continued to perform to nearly the end of his life, while exploring an interest in classical music.