Jazz Swing Era
Jazz Swing Era
The Swing Era (1932-1942)
Post Depression (1929)
Big Bands become prominent
Instrumentation: 4-5 trumpets, 4 trombones, 5 saxophones (woodwinds), piano, bass, drums, guitar
Arranger becomes much more important
Written out arrangements with less, or little, improvisation
Some up-tempo tunes
Many more ballads with jazz interpretation
Music often for dancing
Music become a big business
Recordings were now very important
Recording companies now exercised control over music
Record salesbecame the determining factor of success, (popularity vs. quality issue) commercialism
Arrangements & improvised solos confined to much less time in order to adjust to three minute records to fit in juke boxes
Situation doesnt change until 1948 with 33 1/3 rpm records
About the record business
Gold record: sells over a million dollars
Platinum record: sells over a million units
By 1988 there were 2800 record companies, but:
In 1933, only 3 record companies existed: 1. American Record Company, which owned a. Columbia; b. Brunswick; c. Vocalian; 2. Victor Records & subsidiary, Bluebird; 3. Decca Records

1938: Start of Comodore Records
1939: Start of legendary Blue Note Records
Because there were hundreds of bands and band leaders, there was a perceived need for an identifying signature, gimmick or attraction
Glenn Miller – clarinet melody over the sax section
Tommy Dorsey – his trombone sound with sweet tone and control
Small groups of soloists became identified with some bands, e.g., Goodman: Krupa, Hampton, Herman, Getz
1933 – Repeal of Volstead act (Prohibition)
Ballrooms attract thousands of people
Even in small towns thousands show up for concerts/dances
Jazz becomes very popular
Surge in popularity of dancing; many dance every night
Elements of Swing music
4/4 rhythm prevalent again (like Ragtime and New Orleans Style Dixieland)
“Walking Bass” line begins to develop
More role playing for musicians in the band such as leaders, section players & soloists
Early Bands and Figures
in New York
Fletcher Henderson
Arranger and pianist, worked with fellow arranger Don Redman
Credited with setting the big band instrumentation, independent horn sections
in Kansas City
Benny Moten Band
More riff-like, less prearranged, more blues influenced
William “Count”Basie (1904-1984)
Was in New York in the 1920s
Joined a road show & became stranded in Kansas City
Joined the Benny Moten Band
Started his own band with many of Motens players
When Moten died Basie took over his band
Developed the idea of “comping” or “accompanying” jazz piano
Piano is no longer a time keeper
Piano punctuates freely and compliments

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Big Bands And Minute Records. (June 21, 2021). Retrieved from https://www.freeessays.education/big-bands-and-minute-records-essay/