History Of Swing Essay

711 words - 3 pages

The History Of Swing

It is argued that the start of the “Swing Era” started the day that Louis Armstrong joined Fletcher Henderson’s band in 1924. The style Armstrong played on the trumpet, which was shown off to the world after joining Henderson’s band was the main thing that would lead to swing jazz. The official start of the swing era began ten years after Armstrong joined the band and almost a full ten years after the first swing dance, the Lindy Hop.

In the early 1930’s on the recommendation of Jack Hammond a bandleader named Benny Goodman purchased several tunes from Fletcher Henderson. Up to this point in history what were called “hot tunes” were mostly played publicly by African-American bands, while what were considered “sweet tunes” were played by Jewish and White bands, this remained true even though many “sweet” bands actually preferred the hot tunes by the African –American bands. When Goodman started playing the hot tunes responses were mixed. In ...view middle of the document...

Unbeknownst to Goodman these Hot tunes were the songs they were waiting to hear, after hearing those songs broadcasted on the radio they wanted to see how he would perform at the Palomar Ballroom. After the performance the media labeled Benny Goodman as the “King of Swing” and his band had taken the top 3 spots on the record charts in California. Thus marking the official start to the swing era.

Swing dominated the American social world every club, ballroom, radio and movie soundtracks was filled with the swing jazz music. During WWII, swing continued to remain popular. Large and small ensembles toured with the USO to entertain the camps.

The Swing Dances that were started during the era of the 1920’s to 30’s in America such as the Lindy Hop were influenced by other crazes of the time such as the Charleston and the foxtrot. The Lindy Hop was much faster and more intricate to match the hot tunes that were popular at the time. The dance was rebranded through other names such as the Jitterbug, boogie-woogie and rock’n’rolll. The term Jive was originally a derogatory term used by African-American dancers to refer to the less talented white contemporaries who danced the Lindy hop quite badly by their standards. This term was stuck as on the dance when the Gi’s brought it to Europe during WWII.

The term swing dancing also includes dances such as the Balboa, Collegiate Shag, and Shim Sham, which originated as a warm-up for tap dancers in this era. With the dance craze of the 60’s partner dancing when out of fashion until the 1980’s when it emerged in French Discotheques and was labeled French Jive or Modern Jive. This was then brought to the UK in the early 90’s and was danced to pop music, there is still a strong Modern Jive scene in the UK. Also during the 1980’s groups of Dancer’s across the globe decided to revive the Lindy Hop, learning from stars of the original era, recreating a fashion for dancing to swing music. This lead to a huge revival in the USA during the 90’s.

Works Cited



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