The legendary FROM SPIRITUALS TO SWING concerts were organized by John Hammond, a producer and talent scout for Columbia records.
Hammond wanted to represent black music of all kinds in a single concert.
To that end, he brought together jazz giants like Lester Young and Count Basie with blues performers like Ida Cox and James P. Johnson (who had often accompanied Bessie Smith). Other performers included jazz/blues singer Joe Turner, country blues giants Big Bill Broonzy and Sonny Terry, and the gospel vocal groups Golden Gate Quartet and Mitchell's Christian Singers.
Hammond signed the artists for the concerts, in many cases tracking down the performers himself. The concerts enjoyed sell-out success, and received positive media attention, helping to bring black performers before white audiences.