Swing Jazz History

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“During the 1930s and early 1940s the predominant jazz style was swing. Swing, a dance-oriented style, typically was played in ballrooms by big bands of fourteen or more musicians.” (Thomas, pg.4) The role played by African Americans within the system during this era was revolutionary. The American public had become familiar and happy with big-band swing. Swing rhythm sections delivered a solid, basic accompaniment, built largely of long quarter-note strings exaggerated by the high-hat pattern. Often the themes were either 12 measure blues songs or 32 measure melodies. One reason why swing lost its vitality and audience was because the draft removed tens of thousands of American men from swing jazz's ballroom scene, as well from the bands.…show more content…
Coleman Hawkins, an influential tenor saxophonist, was one of the many people who helped aid the beginning of bebop. Ultimately, Bebop was inspired by two fathers: Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. During the years 1940– 45 the first modern jazz style, shaped by Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie came into being. Charlie Parker composed, painted; he loved machines, cars; he was a loving father. “Charlie’s early death came as no surprise to those who knew him well. After becoming hooked on heroin at age sixteen, Charlie struggled with drug addiction and alcohol abuse for the rest of his life.” (Chuck, pg.2) Because of his erratic lifestyle and addictions Charlie’s saxophones usually ended up in pawnshops, and the music he hastily scribbled on the back of envelopes on the way to recording sessions disappeared afterward. Nevertheless, Charlie was a transitional composer and improviser who led in a new era of jazz and influenced subsequent groups of musicians. Originally from Kansas City, Charlie moved to New York where he founded bebop. Charlie extended both the melodic and the rhythmic range of jazz music in a systematic way. Each of his solo’s appeared to be unique in nature, not the repetition of a distinctive pattern. His music was revolutionary because it was based on disjointedness instead of melodious

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