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Benny Goodman

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Lionel Hampton

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Duke Ellington

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Count Basie

The Swing Era

Time Period:
1920-1935 Beginning of swing bands
1935-1945 The Swing Era

Three Major Bands in New York in the 1920s
  1. Charlie Johnson
  2. McKinney's Cotton Pickers
  3. Fletcher Henderson
Jazz movement was: New Orleans to Chicago to New York
  1. Dissemination of records broke down differences
  2. Burgeoning record industry attracted musicians to cities
  3. Big band was the main vehicle for jazz by the 1920s
  4. Big band had to be invented (5 players to 7 to 9 to 11 to 13 etc.)
  5. Music went from basically improvised polyphony to the homophony of the big bands
  6. New breed of jazz musician
    1. Fletcher Henderson, Don Redman, Duke Ellington, Coleman Hawkins, Buster Bailey
    2. Musically educated (Teddy Wilson at Talladega, Sy Oliver at Cleveland, Lunceford at Fisk)
    3. Came from brass and military bands, vaudeville circuits, strictly dance bands. Represented a cross-fertilization between music readers and non-music reading improvisers
  7. spread of radio and recording
  8. proliferation of new song forms (i.e., AABA, Tin Pan Alley) and songs capable of greater harmonic sophistication and evolution
New York became the center of the music world
  1. recording companies
  2. publishing houses
  3. all fields, all styles
  4. music business activities
Swing Migration
  1. Benny Goodman sparked the beginning of the big band era on August 21, 1935 at the Palomar Ballroom in Hollywood, CA
  2. By 1930, every city outside of the Deep South with a population of more than 60,000 blacks had produced an important band:
    1. Washington D.C. - Duke Ellington
    2. Baltimore - Chick Webb
    3. Memphis - Jimmy Lunceford
    4. St. Louis - The Missourians
    5. Chicago - Luis Russell, Armstrong, Hines
    6. New York - Fletcher Henderson
  3. Fletcher Henderson set the pattern of brass against reeds
  4. Don Redman had the first black band with a regularly sponsored radio series (first really modern sound)
  5. Benny Carter had the first band with five saxophones (1933)
The Swing Era was jazz's most popular period
  1. Hundreds of bands
  2. Over 300 entries in magazine polls of Billboard, Down Beat, Variety, Preview, Esquire, Metronome, Orchestra World, etc.
  3. Countless radio shows such as "Fitch Bandwagon," "Coca Cola Spotlight Series," "Camel Hit Parade," "Chesterfield Hour," "Phillip Morris Show," etc. (over 70 bands with sponsored shows)
  4. Hundreds of performance venues
    1. Ballrooms: Roseland, Savoy, Cotton Club, Paradise, Blue Room, Trianon, etc.
    2. Theaters: Paramount, Strand, Loews, English
    3. Movies: "Hollywood Hotel," "The Fabulous Dorseys," "Winter Wonderland," "Swing Fever," "Stagedoor Canteen," "Sun Valley Serenade," "Orchestra Wives, " etc.
    4. Hotels: Hotel Pennsylvania (Manhattan Room), Hotel New York (Terrace Room), Lincoln Hotel (Blue Room), Commodore Hotel (Palm Room)
    5. Record Companies: Columbia (Brunswick), Decca, RCA Victor, Vocalion
  5. Two kinds of small groups:
    1. Group within the band: The Cabjivers (Cab Calloway), The Woodchoppers (Woody Herman), The Kansas City Seven (Count Basie), The Gramercy Five (Artie Shaw), The Bobcats (Bob Crosby), The Clambake Seven (Tommy Dorsey), Benny Goodman Groups (Trio Quartet, Sextet)
    2. Independent groups: John Kirby Sextet, Nat Cole Trio, Art Tatum Trio, Coleman Hawkins, Quintet of the Hot Club of France, Stuff Smith
The Death of Swing
  1. The Second World War
    1. The draft
    2. Bands raided each other
    3. Transportation was difficult (including to army camps)
    4. Gas shortages (travel was difficult to night spots outside of the city limits)
    5. Rubber shortages
    6. Midnight curfew
    7. 20% amusement tax
    8. Good players did not have to travel
    9. Supply and demand (salaries escalated, music deteriorated)
  2. The dismantling of the urban and interurban railways
  3. Restrictive formats
  4. Racism
  5. Recording ban from July 30, 1942 to November 1943
speakerspacer Jumpin' At The Woodside - Count Basie
speakerspacer Main Stem - Duke Ellington
speakerspacer Sing Sing Sing - Benny Goodman

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