The Real Swing Era

With the popularity of jazz growing in clubs through the 20s, a new style popped up later in the decade. This new style of jazz featured edgier arrangements that pulled the brass and wind instruments in to the forefront of the music. This style also commonly used orchestrated music, leading to the name ‘big band swing’. It wasn’t uncommon for swing groups to have 15 or more members on different instruments.

Continued Success

Even with WWII, swing music remained popular well in to the 50s. The Depression did hurt the nightclub scene, and many musicians went on strike, but as soon as the strike was over the music hit the streets again in full force. The swing movement made way for several types of music. Artists like Frank Sinatra kept a swing feel in their music in to the rock era. Country music artists like Bob Willis incorporated swing in to country, creating the Western swing movement. Moving forward, gypsy swing and rockabilly hit the scene, both using swinger music as the base for the new styles.

Swing Today

Even today swing music remains at the forefront of pop culture. Groups like the Squirrel Nut Zippers and Big Bad Voodoo Daddies have made a way in to the mainstream with big band swing sounds. The newer styles of swing include a punk or ska, and even some rock mixed in with large instrumentation. The 90s created a resurgence and the neo-swing era was born. Swing music started to be used in mainstream media, including popular movies and commercials. By the end of the decade neo-swing had made it’s way in to the Billboard charts.

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