Chicagoan Benny Goodman, son of Jewish migrants, was born into hard times; but even as child he showed a grim determination to succeed. He obtained his musicians union card at the age 14 and through hard work and determination advanced his career inch by inch. By the time world war two was declared he was the King of Swing and with the help of a talented line up he played the hottest music around. He knew something about prejudice from his childhood, but now at the peak of his fame he took took a risk and started employing gifted coloured musicians. This was extremely unusual for the times and he shocked many of his fans in doing so. My friend Iain Sharp’s poem on Goodman; ‘Why I love Jazz’ sums this up far better than any blog prose of mine could’. That he dedicated it to me was the icing on the cake. I have been trying to find a way to add the poem into the post by typing the text in, but the auto spacing makes this difficult. Iain Sharp’s Poem ‘Why I like Jazz’ was published in Broadsheet; New New Zealand Poetry
One thought on “The King of Swing – good music in the face of prejudice”
Iain Sharp’s poems are great and should be embraced by all Jazz and poetry fans.