Interview: Betty Bennett (Part 2) - JazzWax

« Interview: Betty Bennett (Part 1) | Main | Art Farmer and Jim Hall »

July 06, 2011


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


In a 1980 interview with Shirley Kless, Buddy Tate remembered Goodman this way: "I've seen him go to introduce somebody and have to stop and ask them their name. But Jimmy McPartland says he's always been like that, even when he was thirteen....It's just Benny....He told me one time that, back when he first had a big band, anything he thought of to play, why, he'd just play it, and he thought everybody could do that....So, when somebody made a mistake, why, he though they were goofing off..."

Brett Gold

I may have posted this before, but a former trombone teacher of mine, Wayne Andre, who was on Benny's Soviet Union tour in the early 60's (see Bill Crowe's amazing memoir of that tour for details) told me that when Goodman died he got a call from a friend who said: "I have good news and bad news. The good news is that Benny's dead. The bad news is that he died in his sleep."

Bruno Leicht

@ Brett Gold: This was a very rude anecdote. I think a great artist like Benny Goodman, even if he was behaving like an a..h... from time to time wouldn't deserve that kind of bashing.

Benny died in his study while he was practicing a Brahms sonata. I think this says all about the man.


According to one of Goodman's biographies (possibly the one by Ross Firestone), Benny would anonymously pick up hospital bills for musicians who'd played in his bands. An acquaintance observing this asked "Benny, why don't you let the world know about some of the good things that you do?" Goodman replied, quite sensibly, that if he did that every musician in the world would be sending him their bills.

Bruno Leicht

Addendum --

Bill Crow's memorable report on Benny Goodman's Russian tour can be read here:

Well, BG could be quite rude indeed.

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of 55 More Songs," "Anatomy of a Song," "Rock Concert: An Oral History" and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax has won three Jazz Journalists Association awards.
Marc Myers2 2021 (c)by Alyse Myers

Contact me


Click the covers to order...

Subscribe Free

Please enter all required fields
Correct invalid entries

Search JazzWax

  • JazzWax

JazzWax Interviewed

JazzWax Interviews

Audio Note

  • Audio clips that appear below JazzWax posts support editorial content that links readers directly to Amazon and other third-party music retailers.

Marc Myers on Video

JATP Programs