How Did Benny Goodman Contribute To Jazz

1418 Words6 Pages

Sarah Trinh
Survey of Jazz - Written Assignment #2
Benny Goodman’s Contributions to Swing Music, a Style of Jazz
Jazz is a genre of music with a plethora of styles of play, such as bebop, ragtime, and many more. A style of jazz that is worth mentioning is swing. Swing-style jazz spiked in popularity in America in the year 1930 and remained prevalent for over a decade; this period of time is referred to as the “Swing Era” (“The Orchestra Swings”). However, the swing style cannot be mentioned without including the name of a musician, Benny Goodman. However, that does not exclude the contribution of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and many more artists who have contributed greatly in the Swing Era (“The Orchestra Swings”). Benny Goodman is a clarinet …show more content…

However, Goodman brought jazz to another level, where it began to earn worldwide recognition. During Goodman’s first official on-stage jazz performance, perhaps a life-changing event for many swing-style jazz musicians, Benny Goodman along with other musicians performed in harmony at Carnegie Hall, in New York; this concert took place on January 16th, 1938, just at the ripe of the Swing Era (Vitale, 2018). Goodman described the performance: “Until they got there, we didn't even know how many people would be on hand. So we just went out and played,” and proceeded to play his heart out (Vitale, 2018). Little did Goodman know that it was the night when he brought jazz to another level. To be specific, it was stated briefly in an article shortly after the performance that the recording of the Carnegie Hall Jazz concert was reissued and sold to a pool of audience, which earned the concert a great amount of recognition (Vitale, 2009). Thus, a whole new elevation where jazz went from a source of entertainment for individuals on the street to being performed in a more elegant manner in an auditorium. Moreover, aside from the fact that Goodman brought jazz to another level where it has the opportunity to earn …show more content…

Racism was always prevalent in the jazz world and quite biased towards white musicians despite the fact that “Swing is a style of jazz that grew from African American roots” (“The Orchestra Swings”). Hence, aside from bringing the style swing to fame, Goodman had also created a sense of racial diversity in the jazz world or broke the racial barriers in the musical world. That is, under his own fame and the enormous amount of public attention Goodman had earned as an artist, notably a white clarinetist, Goodman took the opportunity to bring his African American peers to fame by composing and performing with them together in famous, renowned events, such as the Carnegie Hall stage. Goodman, as a leader, composed a band with other racially differing musicians, especially African Americans artists, to integrate and introduce a sense of racial inclusivity to the jazz world. For example, Goodmad had invited, but not limited to these talented musicians, Teddy Wilson and Count Basie as the band’s pianist, Lionel Hampton as a vibraphonist, and Lester Young as the saxophonist for the performance at the Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert (Vitale, 2018); the inclusive presence of African American musicians showed a deep and genuine connection between the performing musicians of different races standing together in a band, playing the same

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