Benny Goodman

March 4, 2019. Catherine Russell is part singer, part musical anthropologist, part necromancer. On her new album, Alone Together, she breathes new, 21st-century-infused life into the Swing Era music of bandleaders like Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, and Louis Jordan, allowing us to travel back in time without leaving the present.

By 1938, clarinetist Benny Goodman was already known as "The King of Swing" — the leader of the most popular dance band in America at a time when swing jazz was America's most popular music. But nobody knew how it would be received in Carnegie Hall, America's temple to classical music.

In the late 1930s, a bespectacled white man who played the clarinet was a teen idol. That was Benny Goodman, and he got to be that way from leading a quartet with Lionel Hampton, Teddy Wilson and Gene Krupa — one of jazz's first racially integrated bands.