Benny Goodman was the first celebrated bandleader of the Swing Era, dubbed "The King of Swing," his popular emergence marking the beginning of the era. He was an accomplished clarinetist whose distinctive playing gave an identity both to his big band and to the smaller units he led simultaneously. The most popular figure of the first few years of the Swing Era, he continued to perform until his death 50 years later. Goodman was the son of Russian immigrants David Goodman, a tailor, and Dora Rezinsky Goodman. He first began taking clarinet lessons at ten at a synagogue, after which he joined the band at Hull House, a settlement home. He made his professional debut at 12 and dropped out of high school at 14 to become a musician. At 16, in August 1925, he joined the Ben Pollack band, with which he made his first released band recordings in ...
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