Is swing jazz

swing

by ROLF MARTIN

The swing style developed in Chicago and New York in the late 1920s and was the dominant style between around 1930 and 1940. It is characterized by the replacement of two beat jazz by four beat jazz. This means that the emphasis on strong and weak parts of the time is broken and the four beats of the 4/4 time are evenly struck, in particular by a continuous bass (walking bass) and possibly an evenly swinging guitar.

The verb "to swing" is not limited to the swing style, but describes that special rhythmic tension that good jazz musicians are able to build up. This “swing” element can be found in all styles, not just “swing”. Good jazz swings! The trumpeter Wingie Manone once gave the following explanation of swing: “Feel the tempo growing, although you are steadfastly playing at the same tempo”.

The training of big bands is characteristic of the swing style of the 1930s. In Kansas City, Benny Moten's band formed the Count Basie Orchestra with its phenomenal rhythm section (Basie, p; Freddie Green, g; Walter Page, b; Jo Jones, dr). Flechtcher Henderson, Duke Ellington and many other big bands shone with excellent arrangements and produced great soloists, who in turn often founded their own orchestras. For example, Benny Goodman, who later became the "King of Swing", came from the Henderson Orchestra.

The enormous spread and popularization of swing music is probably also due to the fact that you can dance to this music very well. In the swing epoch it was common for big bands to fill huge dance halls and for many musicians to get by with their music. Hand in hand with this went a certain commercialization and adaptation of the music to the taste of the audience.

Gradually, the originally racially separated orchestras began to mix. One of Benny Goodman's great merits was that he included African-American musicians such as Lionel Hampton on vibraphone, Teddy Wilson on piano and Charlie Christian on guitar in his orchestra and his combos, and they performed them in his now famous concerts at Carnegie-Hall in New York presented to the general public.

The 1930s were also the time of great soloists who emerged from the swing orchestras and had a decisive influence on the period. To name a few: tenor saxophonists Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young and Chu Berry, alto saxophonists Johnny Hodges and Benny Carter, clarinetists Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw and Woody Herman, trumpeters Roy Eldridge, Rex Stewart and Bunny Berigan, pianists Teddy Wilson and Fats Waller, drummers Cozy Cole, Chick Webb and Gene Krupa and many, many others.