Instrumentalists: Still Playing What He Feels

The couples stopped dancing and edged forward, still bobbing and clapping in rhythm. On the bandstand, his lips puckered into a smile around the mouthpiece and his thick eyebrows arched above horn-rims, Benny Goodman raised his wailing clarinet over the listeners' heads and set the pace for his sextet's jet-propelled delivery of Air Mail Special.

It could have been a scene from the late '30s, when Goodman's cheerfully crisp, driving style made him the King of Swing and started a new era in American music. Actually, it was Goodman's opening night last week at Manhattan's Rainbow Grill, high in the 70-story...

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