Glenn Miller
Live at Carnegie Hall: 1938 Complete
Yes, Indeed!
Charlie Christian

Jazz » Big Band/Swing » Swing

While New Orleans jazz has improvised ensembles, when jazz started becoming popular in the 1920s and demand was growing for larger dance bands, it became necessary for ensembles to be written down, particularly when a group included more than three or four horns. Although swing largely began when Louis Armstrong joined Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra in 1924 and Don Redman began writing arrangements for the band that echoed the cornetist's relaxed phrases, the swing era officially started in 1935 when Benny Goodman's Orchestra caught on. Swing was a major force in American popular music until the big-band era largely ended in 1946. Swing differs from New Orleans jazz and Dixieland in that the ensembles (even for small groups) are simpler and generally filled with repetitious riffs, while in contrast the solos are more sophisticated. Individual improvisations still paid close attention to the melody but due to the advance in musicianship, the solo flights were more adventurous. The swing-oriented musicians who continued performing in the style after the end of the big band era (along with later generations who adopted this approach) were also playing "mainstream." The many stars of swing during the big-band era included trumpeters Louis Armstrong, Bunny Berigan, Harry James, and Roy Eldridge; trombonists Tommy Dorsey and Jack Teagarden; clarinetists Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw; tenor saxophonists Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, and Ben Webster; altoists Johnny Hodges and Benny Carter; pianists Teddy Wilson, Art Tatum, Earl Hines, Count Basie, and Nat King Cole; guitarist Charlie Christian; drummers Gene Krupa and Chick Webb; vibraphonist Lionel Hampton; bandleader Glenn Miller; and singers Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Jimmy Rushing.

Swing Artists Highlights

Glenn Miller
Glenn Miller
Charlie Christian
Charlie Christian
Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby
Spike Jones
Spike Jones
Lester Young
Lester Young
Count Basie
Count Basie

More Swing Artists

Swing Album Highlights

Live at Carnegie Hall: 1938 Complete
Benny Goodman
Live at Carnegie Hall: ...
Yes, Indeed!
Tommy Dorsey
Yes, Indeed!
The World of Nat King Cole
Nat King Cole
The World of Nat King Cole
Ken Burns Jazz
Lester Young
Ken Burns Jazz
Central Avenue Blues: The Complete All-Star Sextette & V-Disc Sessions
Teddy Wilson
Central Avenue Blues: The ...
Ken Burns Jazz
Ella Fitzgerald
Ken Burns Jazz

More Swing Albums

Swing Song Highlights

Title/Composer Performer Stream
Sing, Sing, Sing Benny Goodman
Swing High Tommy Dorsey
Stardust Nat King Cole
Oh, Lady Be Good Lester Young
A-Tisket, A-Tasket Ella Fitzgerald
Clink, Clink, Another Drink Spike Jones
Black and Tan Fantasy Duke Ellington & His Orchestra
Caldonia Woody Herman
Them There Eyes Billie Holiday
Rockin' in Rhythm Duke Ellington

More Swing Songs

Other Styles in Big Band/Swing