King of Swing celebrated at McNamara's

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Benny Goodman's birth, Skaneateles clarinetist Nick Palumbo will perform with his "swingtet" from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday Feb. 22, at McNamara's Pub, 5600 Newport Road, in Camillus.

The swingtet features Palumbo on clarinet, Jimmy Johns on vibes, keyboard Dave Solazzo on keyboard, Mike Solazzo on bass and Dave Baker on drums.

The combo will perform Goodman hits such as "Air Mail Special," "Don't Be That Way," "Get Happy," and "Just One of Those Things."

Sunday's concert is hosted by the Jazz Appreciation Society of Syracuse. Admission costs $10 for JASS members, $12 for others; 652-0547.

'Let's Dance'

Goodman, who was born in Chicago on May 30, 1909, worked as a free-lance clarinetist in the late-1920s before debuting his own orchestra in 1934 at the Billy Rose Music Hall in Manhattan. His big band got its big break when the NBC hired it to fill the hot spot on a five-hour radio show called "Let's Dance." After a strike canceled that show, Goodman's band, which featured drummer Gene Krupa and singer Helen Ward, made records for RCA and embarked on a coast-to-coast tour.

The tour culminated in Los Angeles, at the Palomar Ball Room. When the orchestra began playing its program of pop tunes, the Palomar audience grew restless.

Palomar Ballroom

"Several versions exist as to what happened next," said JASS board member Pat Carroll, "but some stories say that (trumpeter) Bunny Berigan urged his colleagues to 'cut the crap,' so they scrapped the stock arrangements, counted off 'King Porter Stomp,' and the audience went wild."

That was Aug. 21, 1935. The Swing Era had begun, and Benny was crowned its king.

What does Goodman mean to Palumbo?

"I grew up with him," said the veteran clarinetist. "I listened to all his tunes on the radio when I was a kid. That's probably what steered me into playing clarinet."

For JASS information, call 652-0547. To contact McNamara's, call 672-8872.

The Jazz Appreciation Society of Syracuse is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and presentation of traditional New Orleans jazz.

Vote on this Story by clicking on the Icon


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment