The period of the 1930s and 1940s is known as the Swing Era. Big bands like Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Artie Shaw, and others became household names and music icons ("Jazz History- Swing"). Swing music was a trendy style of jazz, while swing dancing was very popular and performed in many dance halls. As they became more widespread, both became a vital part of America.
The 1930s brought a style of music that was possibly the most fashionable and accessible in jazz history. Swing music was an extension of the New Orleans-style jazz almost single-handedly invented by Louis Armstrong, a man that was considered to be one of the greatest of all jazz musicians. Another brilliant musician was Satchmo, who was renowned for playing slightly ahead of the beat and inspired others to do the same (Kallen). Benny Goodman's bands and combos introduced swing to nationwide audiences through ballrooms, recordings, and the radio in 1934. He was the first white bandleader to include African American and white musicians performing together in public. In 1936, he presented two brilliant African American soloists, pianist Teddy Wilson and vibraphonist Lionel Hampton. Up until then, racial discrimination and segregation had suppressed the growth of African American jazz musicians, and carefree swing music began to be the most popular music in America ("The World Book Encyclopedia volume J"). Before the 1930s, bands in New York, Chicago, and the Southwest started to replace the traditional small group New Orleans style of jazz with larger and more powerful groups comprising of 12 to 16 musicians. A reason for this change was the lack of technology. Without a microphone or other amplification, bands had to devise another way to be heard in large ballrooms and dance halls. By increasing the number of musicians, the volume rose and arrangers became a key to the success of big bands. Bandleaders like Duke Ellington became famous as composers and arrangers, while other leaders hired...
Bibliography: Kallen, Stuart. The History of Jazz. Farmington Hills, MI: Lucent Books, 2003.
World Book, Inc. (2003). "Jazz." The World Book Encyclopedia volume J.
Groiler Incorporated. (2002). "Dance." The New Book of Knowledge volume D.
Swing History Origins of Swing Dance. 19 Mar. 2007 http://www.centralhome.com/ballroomcountry/swing.htm>
Jazz History- Swing. 19 Mar. 2007 http://www.vervemusicgroup.copm/history.aspx?hid=11>
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