1930s Swing Band Era

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					1930s Swing Band Era
Swing music or just swing, is a type of musical genre originated in the early 1930s. It refers to a distinctive rhythmic
style based on triple sections of the beat. This energetic music was introduced in the 1920s by the stride pianists and
has been a typical feature of the jazz music throughout the decades and beyond. Swing is associated with style in
jazz that was popular relatively from 1930 until the 1940s. The swing era is performed generally by big bands, which
have reached wider audiences over the radio, on dance halls and records.

Swing uses a powerful rhythm section of drums and double bass as the lead section anchors of the brass
instruments like trombones, trumpets, woodwinds such as the clarinets and saxophones and sometimes stringed
instruments including guitar and violin. It is characterized for its fast tempo and swing time rhythm. Each instrument
served a specific role in the ensemble and apart from the melodies, the sections were frequently improvised. Swing
band arrangements mostly consist of basic, recurrent materials or also known as “riffs”. Improvisation was given a
preferential role and soloist would perform while the rest of the band, besides the rhythm section, stopped or
played some background lines. When we say “to swing”, is a term of praise for playing a robust rhythmic drive or

One of the things that made swing music so popular was its compelling intensity and abandon which exemplified
freedom and happiness during the hard times. It was a period of Great Depression which has led many Americans to
suffer and dancing to swing music had helped alleviate their worries. The music industry slowly picked up in 1937
triggered in part by the swing music craze and the presence of jukeboxes almost everywhere—from ice cream
parlors, speakeasies and drug stores.

With the growing popularity of big band swing came another opportunity for numerous companies to sell products
that appeal to everyone from phonograph owners and dancers to side men and band leaders.

Here’s a list of the movers and shakers of the swing era:

   1. Freddie Green – He was known for defining the role of guitar in a big band scene. His 50-year music career
      was mostly with Court Basie’s orchestra. His guitar playing style was known for its melodious accuracy and
      how it intertwined with the drums.
   2. Gene Krupa – His rise to fame in the 30s came when he played drums with Benny Goodman’s band,
      showcasing his extravagant style on recordings like Goodman’s ”Sing, sing, sing”. He was referred as one of
      the most influential jazz drummers not just for the way he played it but also for his role in regulating
      techniques in jazz drumming.
   3. Count Basie – He was considered one of the most accomplished bandleaders in jazz. He was a leader of his
      orchestra for nearly 50 years. His band was notable for playing easy, often bluesy musical arrangements
      where it concentrated on the effortless rhythmic texture, a feature in swing that bands in this era tried hard
      to achieve.

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