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Image for Benny Goodman

Benny Goodman

Benny Goodman (musician; born May 30, 1909, Chicago, Illinois; died June 13, 1986) Benny Goodman's reign as "King of Swing," "Patriarch of the Clarinet," and "Swing's Senior Statesman" began when he helped many Americans see the silver lining around that cloud known as the Depression. The optimism and grace of swing music brought the nation through some of its darkest days. Goodman was the ninth of 12 children born to Russian-Jewish immigrants. Although many boys at that time followed in their father's footsteps in terms of profession, Goodman followed his heart and pursued a career in music. His first clarinet was borrowed from Chicago's Kehelah Jacob Synagogue in order to play in the boys' band there.