May 30, 1909: Jazz Musician Benny Goodman is Born

On this day in 1909, jazz clarinettist and orchestra leader Benny Goodman was born. Goodman’s passion was music and his big band sound quickened the pulse of a generation ready to shrug off the Depression and dance. With clarinet in hand, Benny Goodman was transformed from a child in Chicago’s impoverished Jewish ghetto into the king of swing, greeted with near pandemonium wherever his band played.

Goodman led jazz into the commercial mainstream and brought with him an extraordinary group of gifted and original musicians. Band members Teddy Wilson and Lionel Hampton were some of the first to break the big band colour barrier.

To learn more about one jazz’s greats, head on over to American Masters’ biography of Benny Goodman.