Sunday, May 30, 2010

Benny Goodman @ 101

Jazz clarinetist Benny Goodman, as portrayed by Flora for the March 1952 issue of Columbia's monthly Coda new release booklet. Goodman was a founding father of the mid-1930s jazz big band ("swing") style—launched in force after he hired arranger Fletcher Henderson in 1935.

As he matured, he performed and recorded classical repertoire; the above figures illustrated Coda's preview of Goodman's recording (with the American Art Quartet) of Mozart's Quintet for Clarinet and Strings.

Flora was a fan of Goodman, and rendered him many times for Columbia and RCA Victor releases and promotional material. Asked about his encounters with the jazz musicians he illustrated, Flora told me (in 1998):
I didn't get to know many of them intimately. Benny Goodman I knew better than any of them. I did some photographic sessions with Benny. He was always difficult to get along with, but I never had any problems.
Goodman was born this day in 1909.

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