Monday, April 23, 2007

Jazz and dance from Harlem, NYC, reached across the world in the 1930's

Originally uploaded by ryran.
In the movie Swing Kids the style of dance and the music come mostly from the clubs and recording studios of NYC.

The 1930s belonged to Swing, says Wikipedia. While the solo became more important in jazz, popular bands became larger in size. During that classic era, most of the Jazz groups were Big Bands. The Big bands such as Benny Goodman's Orchestra were highly jazz oriented, while others (such as Glenn Miller's) left less space for improvisation.

Key figures in developing the big jazz band were arrangers and bandleaders Fletcher Henderson, Don Redman and Duke Ellington. Swing was also dance music, which served as its immediate connection to the people. Although it was a collective sound, swing also offered individual musicians a chance to improvise melodic, thematic solos which could at times be very complex.

Over time, social strictures regarding racial segregation began to relax, and white bandleaders began to recruit black musicians. In the mid-1930s, Benny Goodman hired pianist Teddy Wilson, vibraphonist Lionel Hampton, and guitarist Charlie Christian to join small groups.

The influence of Louis Armstrong can be seen in bandleaders like Cab Calloway, trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, and vocalists like Bing Crosby, who were influenced by Armstrong's style of improvising. The style further spread to vocalists such as Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday; later, Frank Sinatra and Sarah Vaughan, among others, would jump on the scat bandwagon.

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