History’s most important jazz concert? It was Benny Goodman’s appearance Carnegie Hall on Jan. 16, 1938, according to Phil Schaap, curator of Jazz at Lincoln Center.
“The Goodman concert at Carnegie Hall is the cornerstone to jazz having performance space in the concert hall,” Schaap recently told NPR. “But most importantly, aesthetically, it establishes that jazz has value for listening purposes only.”
The concert also made history for breaking cultural barriers: Goodman’s band, with drummer Gene Krupa, included six black musicians — pianists Count Basie and Teddy Wilson, saxophonist Lester Young and vibraphonist Lionel Hampton — during a time when music venues didn’t allow that kind of racial mixing.
The recording of the show, finally released in 1950, was one of the first million-selling LPs.
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