Benny Goodman & Teddy Wilson: Taking the Stage as the First Black-And-White Jazz Band in History

by Lesa Cline-Ransome and James Ransome

Benny Goodman and Teddy Wilson grew up far apart but both were serious about music... read more

Benny Goodman and Teddy Wilson grew up far apart but both were serious about music and, by the late 1930s, both had embarked on musical careers. On his clarinet Benny played music that was “All sweet / All dance / All white / All the way to New York.” On his piano, Teddy played music that was “All hot / All rhythm / All black / All the way to New York.” The on-stage segregation in jazz music didn’t extend backstage, and from the time Benny and Teddy first met they loved playing together. With drummer Gene Krupa, they formed the Benny Goodman Trio. Early on a white piano player took Teddy’s place when the trio performed live. But within a year, Teddy was on stage, too. Soon Lionel Hampton on vibraphone joined the group to form the fully integrated on-stage-and-off Benny Goodman quartet. A spirited, lively narrative is set against vibrant illustrations in a volume concluding with more on Benny and Teddy, a timeline, and brief notes about other jazz musicians mentioned in the narrative. (Ages 6–9)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2015

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