JFK+50: Volume 6, No. 1830BENNY GOODMAN AND HIS ORCHESTRA PLAYED AT CARNEGIE HALL 78 YEARS AGO TODAY
New York City (JFK+50) Seventy-eight years ago today, January 16, 1938, jazz clarinetist Benny Goodman* and his fifteen piece orchestra played at Carnegie Hall here in New York City to a packed audience.
Goodman's performance broke new ground because Carnegie Hall was considered the home of classical music. Although the concert was recorded on both acetate and aluminium masters, the recordings were filed away and presumably lost until the acetate recordings were rediscovered by Mr. Goodman's sister-in-law in 1950.
The Benny Goodman Carnegie Hall recording was transferred to vinyl and sold more than a million copies. Then in 1998, the back-up aluminium masters were found and released on compact disc by Sony the following year.
Benny Goodman said of the Carnegie Hall performance...
"That night...was a great experience...it was the thrill of my life to walk out on that stage with people just hemming the band in and hear the greeting the guys got."
In the summer of 1962, the Benny Goodman Orchestra, which then included 22 pieces, conducted a six week U.S. State Department sponsored concert tour of the USSR.
Upon their return, Benny Goodman reported to President Kennedy at the White House. JFK said that the tour "was a great thing and I'm glad they did it" and added that Mr. Goodman was our "International Ambassador with a clarinet."
Later, Goodman reported to the press that Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev expressed a distaste for jazz...that he didn't like it no matter if it was American or Russian.
One of JFK's favorite songs was "Blue Skies" which was performed at Carnegie Hall along with "One O'Clock Jump", "Stompin' at the Savoy" and "Sing, Sing, Sing".
*Benjamin David "Benny" Goodman (1909-1986) was born in Chicago to Jewish immigrants from Poland. He made his professional debut in 1921 and his 1st recording in 1926.
In the 1930s, the Goodman Orchestra played on NBC's "Let's Dance" radio program and ushered in the beginning of the "Swing Era" as the jitterbug became popular. Benny Goodman died at the age of 77.
"Superb Remastering of Milestone Jazz Concert," by A. Pollock, January 24, 2007, www.amazon.com.