The Early Swing Era, 1930 to 1941

By Dave Oliphant | Go to book overview

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Allen, Henry “Red” (1908–1967). A trumpeter whose career began with recordings in 1929 with his own band and in 1930 with King Oliver, Allen developed into one of the fieriest of the swing improvisers. His work with the Luis Russell and Fletcher Henderson Orchestras in the early ’30s is often spectacular, as on the 1930 Russell recording of “Louisiana Swing” and on the 1933 Henderson recording of “Queer Notions.” Between 1933 and 1939, Allen often worked with smaller groups, which included such sidemen as J.C. Higginbotham, Chu Berry, and Dickie Wells, who all formed part of the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra at one time or another.

Anderson, Ivie (1905–1949). A vocalist with the Duke Ellington Orchestra beginning in 1931, Anderson first recorded with the organization on the seminal 1932 Ellington song, “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing.” Her recording in 1937 of “All God’s Children” exhibits her fine sense of swing. Her ability to handle ballad material with a blues feeling is demonstrated by her 1941 recording of Ellington’s lovely “I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good.”

Apollo Theatre. Both the Apollo Theatre and the Savoy Ballroom hosted black and white bands, with Charlie Barnet’s Orchestra appearing at the Apollo in 1934 as the first white unit and, according to Metronome magazine, “shatter[ing] all precedent and opening day records” (cited in David W. Stowe, Swing Changes, p. 43), although Barnet denies that this was the case (see his Those Swinging Years: The Autobiography of Charlie Barnet with Stanley Dance, p. 61). The Apollo held a regular Amateur Night, at which in 1934 Ella Fitzgerald was discovered by drummer-band leader Chick Webb.

Armstrong, Louis “Satchmo” (1901–1971). As a seminal figure in jazz, Armstrong influenced all individual musicians and groups by his ability to

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The Early Swing Era, 1930 to 1941
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Chapter 1 - Precursors to and the Birth of Big-Band Swing 1
  • Chapter 2 - The Name Black Bands 39
  • Chapter 3 - The Name White Bands 97
  • Chapter 4 - Other Black Bands 147
  • Chapter 5 - Other White Bands 263
  • Chapter 6 - The Small Swing Groups 325
  • A to Z 397
  • Selected Bibliography 429
  • Index 433
  • About the Author 465
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