Legendary clarinetist Benny Goodman, here in concert in 1971, performed at the first jazz concert at Carnegie Hall.

Photograph by Hans Bernhard, courtesy Wikimedia. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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  • On January 16, 1938, Carnegie Hall played host to its first jazz concert, organized by clarinetist Benny Goodman. The concert was the first time the new, syncopated style of American music was played in a formal recital hall. This helped lead to the acceptance of jazz by mainstream audiences.

    In addition to helping kick-start the spread of jazz, the concert was a triumph for racial integration. During a period of widespread segregation, Goodman refused to perform unless the two African-American members of his band were permitted on stage. As a result, the concert was the first time African-American musicians performed at Carnegie Hall.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    integration Noun

    process of mixing different substances or groups.

    jazz Noun

    American musical style with many variations, often featuring strong rhythms and difficult solos.

    segregation Noun

    separation.