The Big Band Era
“You ain’t got a thing, if you ain’t got that Swing!”
Swing was a verb that musicians used long before press agents turned it into a noun or adjective to describe both an attitude toward music and a special way of performing it. “Swing” suggests rhythm and a regular propulsive oscillation, a form of jazz that is still influencing music today. There are many instruments reinforcing the others, then other times, playing against each other and a solo instrument playing against a background. The jazz form traveled north out of New Orleans in the 1890’s and slammed into the Chicago scene in the 1920’s.
The beginnings can be traced back to Fletcher Henderson in New York and Bernie Moten in Kansas City. Fletcher and his brother Horace created the pattern for swing arrangements and was the first to train a big band…