May 18, 2024

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How Jazz legend Rolf Kühn became Benny Goodman: Video

Rolf Kühn musically bows to his former bandleader Benny Goodmann. 80 years after his legendary concert at Carnegie Hall in New York.

Rolf Kühn (88) comes by car to talk with the B.Z. He squeezes his Mercedes-AMG compressor with the registration number B-RK into a tiny gap in front of the Philharmonic. Glasses, hearing aid, stick? None. The celebrated jazz musician wears a small clarinet suitcase.

He does not want to give his hand. The index finger of the right hand has swollen. Too much practice? “That happened to me for the first time. But until the concert it will certainly go again, “he assures. Last week, Rolf Kühn bowed musically to his former bandleader Benny Goodmann (1909-1986). 80 years after his legendary concert at the Carnegie Hall in New York, Kühn plays with the NDR big band the former program. He himself takes on the role of clarinetist Goodman.

“He smeared a cheese sandwich in the kitchen for me”
From 1958 to 1962 he was a member of the orchestra of the American jazz legend. He still remembers the auditioning. “I had to play the solo Goody Goody for him. When he smiled, I was engaged. “Once he was even allowed to visit Benny Goodman in his New York penthouse.

“We were alone and he smoked me a cheese sandwich in the kitchen,” reports Rolf Kühn.

“The clarinet is a tricky lady”

Of course, he also learned a lot from his great role model. Anyway, he has the repertoire of his great Philharmonic concert playfully on it. To this day Rolf Kühn works up to three hours a day at his game. “The clarinet is a tricky lady. You have to deal with her every day. “The youngest of his 13 clarinets are from the 50s. So the ladies are much older than Kühn’s third wife, Melanie, 47. “In this case, jealousy would therefore be groundless,” smiles the grand seigneur of jazz.

Rolf Kühn mit seiner Klarinette vor der Berliner Philharmonie

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