Transitions to Early Swing Jazz
There have been many different transitional periods in jazz history but no more as dramatic and unique as the change in the sound, the popularity, and the formation of early swing bands. These early bands first took shape out of period in jazz history called small combo jazz. This period of jazz his can be characterized for its use of collective and solo improvisation, a smoother rhythm, the use of a front line and a rhythm sections, and relatively small band size. From the small combo jazz era would come a few great musicians who would push jazz into a new level of popularity that had never been seen before and never has since. Some of the transformers who pioneered early swing jazz were Fletcher Henderson, Jimmie Lunceford, and Paul Whitman.
The "Swing Era" (1928 -1945) was a mixture of popular and classical music that created universal appear and artistic quality for jazz music. Early formation of the swing bands came from dance bands that gave people what they wanted, dance music that swung but still had an elegant sophistication, which, had existed in earlier jazz such as small combo jazz. These early dance bands began to take up some of the unique features of small combo jazz such as blue notes and short improvisation pieces for solo instruments. Most of these changes into the swing era took place largely in New York where the success of early dance bands had begun to grow.
There were quite a few differences between the two periods of jazz. Swing era bands where also called "big bands" due to the large number of performers in the band while small combo band contained just a few players. Big bands where then broken into three sections based on brass players, reed players, and rhythm players (Gridley 84). Most of these ideas had come from a symphony type of structure which were adapted by musicians such as Fletcher Henderson and Ferde Grofe, pioneers for the transformation into swing music (Cooke 82). In...
Bibliography: Cooke, Mervyn. Jazz.
London: Thames and Hudson, 1998.
Gridley, Mark C. Jazz Styles: History and Analysis.
Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2003
JAZZ A Film By Ken Burns: Biographies.
[Accessed November 25, 2002]
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