Swing era

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The swing era (also frequently referred to as the "big band era") was the period of time (around 1935–1946) when big band swing music was the most popular music in the United States. Though this was its most popular period, the music had actually been around since the late 1920s and early 1930s, being played by black bands led by such artists as Duke Ellington, Jimmie Lunceford, Bennie Moten, Cab Calloway, and Fletcher Henderson, and white bands from the 1920s led by the likes of Russ Morgan and Isham Jones. The era's beginning is sometimes dated from Benny Goodman's performance at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles on August 21, 1935, bringing the music to the rest of the country.

Music experimentation has always been popular in America. The many avenues of black, white, Latin, American, and European music influences merged when Swing arrived. In 1932, early in the jazz, and the sweet music styles of the American music scene - they worked on new, often unheard-of musical arrangements that were emphasized toward a more polished song with a bounce. Recordings by Isham Jones, the popular jazz/blues bandleader, and his orchestra which sometimes included Benny Goodman recorded for RCA Victor. The swing era also was precipitated by spicing up familiar commercial, popular material with a Harlem oriented flavor and selling it via a white band for a white musical/commercial audience.[1]

The jazz/blues era brought to swing music Louis Armstrong, Billy Holiday, and by 1938 Ella Fitzgerald. Other musicians who rose during this time include Jimmy Dorsey, his brother Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Goodman's future rival Artie Shaw, and Woody Herman who departed the Isham Jones band in 1936 to start his own band. Several factors led to the demise of the swing era: the recording ban from August 1942 to November 1944 (The union that most jazz musicians belong to told its members not to record until the record companies agreed to pay them each time their music was played on the radio), the earlier ban of ASCAP songs from radio stations, World War II which made it harder for bands to travel around as well as the "cabaret tax", which was as high as 30%, the change in music taste and the rise of bebop. Though Ellington and Basie were able to keep their bands together (the latter did briefly downsize his band; from 1950–1952), by the end of 1946, most of their competitors were forced to disband, bringing the swing era to a close.

Songs from the swing era[edit]

The swing era produced many classic recordings. Some of those are:


  1. ^ The jazz of the Southwest citing "The Book of Jazz: A Guide to the Entire Field. Leonard Feather. page 110.