Swing music

Swing music, or simply swing, is a form of American music that developed in the early 1930s and became a distinctive style by 1940. Swing uses a strong rhythm section of double bass and drums as the anchor for a lead section of brass instruments such as trumpets and trombones, woodwinds including saxophones and clarinets, and sometimes stringed instruments such as violin and guitar, medium to fast tempos, and a "lilting" swing time rhythm. The name swing came from the phrase ‘swing feel’ where the emphasis is on the off–beat or weaker pulse in the music (unlike classical music). Swing bands usually featured soloists who would improvise on the melody over the arrangement. The danceable swing style of big bands and bandleaders such as Benny Goodman was the dominant form of American popular music from 1935 to 1946, a period known as the Swing Era. The verb "to swing" is also used as a term of praise for playing that has a strong rhythmic "groove" or drive.

Swing has roots in the late 1920s use of larger ensembles using written arrangements. The period between 1935 and 1946 is when big band swing music reached its peak and was the most popular music in America. This period is known as the Swing Era. A typical song played in swing style would feature a strong, anchoring rhythm section in support of more loosely tied wind, brass. The most common style consisted of having a soloist take center stage, and improvise a solo within the framework of his bandmates playing support. Swing music began to decline in popularity during World War II because of several factors. Most importantly it became difficult to staff a "big band" because many musicians were overseas fighting in the war. By the late 1940s, swing had morphed into traditional pop music, or evolved into new jazz styles such as jump blues and bebop. Swing music saw a revival in the late 1950s and 1960s with pop vocalists such as Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, and Nat King Cole, as well as jazz-oriented vocalists like Ella Fitzgerald.

The best-known bandleaders of the Swing Era were Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Woody Herman, Glenn Miller, and Artie Shaw. The best-known arrangers included Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. Noted wind and brass players included clarinettists Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw; sax players Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Johnny Hodges, and Charlie Parker; trumpeters Louis Armstrong and Louis Prima; and trombonists such as Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller. Notable rhythm section performers included Jimmy Blanton, Milt Hinton, and Slam Stewart on bass; Lionel Hampton on marimba; Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, and Art Tatum on keys; Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich on drums; Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt on guitar. Some of the best-known Swing vocalists were Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.

Swing was blended with other genres to create new styles. In country music, artists such as Jimmie Rodgers, Moon Mullican and Bob Wills introduced many elements of swing along with blues to create a genre called western swing. Gypsy swing is an outgrowth of Venuti and Lang's jazz violin swing. In the 1970s and 1980s, fans of the big band swing music attended swing music performances at supper clubs. In the late-1980s (into the early 1990s) a trendier, more urban-styled swing-beat emerged called the new jack swing spearheaded by Teddy Riley. In the late 1990s (1998 until about 2000) there was a short-lived "Swing revival" movement, led by bands such as Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Royal Crown Revue, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers, the Lucky Strikes, Hipster Daddy-O and the Handgrenades, and Brian Setzer. In Canada, some of the early 2000s records by The JW-Jones Blues Band included swing revival elements.

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