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Benny Goodman
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    (May 30, 1909-June 13, 1986)
    Jazz clarinetist and bandleader
    Led one of the most successful Big Bands of the 1930s
    Nickname was 'The King of Swing.'
    He had a reputation as a thoughtless taskmaster who seldom remembered the names of his own musicians.
    If a musician didn't perform up to his high standards, he gave them an intense, withering stare that became known as 'The Ray.'
    He also had a reputation for cheapness, sometimes filching his musicians' food and cigarettes.
    When he started as a bandleader, he altered his speaking voice in an effort to sound black.
    As a teenager, he supported his impoverished family by playing in local bands.
    His band's performance at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles on August 21, 1935 was regarded as the beginning of the Swing era in jazz.
    He was one of the first jazz musicians to play Carnegie Hall, on January 16, 1938.
    He played alongside black musicians such as Lionel Hampton, Teddy Wilson, and Charlie Christian.
    He also hired black arrangers such as Fletcher Henderson and Edgar Sampson.
    He turned down movie deals when producers insisted that he not perform with black musicians.
    He was one of the few jazz musicians to successfully cross over into classical music.

Credit: IbnBorca of Elkabar

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