Swing, Swing, Swing

By Stephen Paul

Swing dancing began in the 1920s, when the modern orchestra and jazz music evolved simultaneously. Large ensemble jazz would ultimately lead to the creation of swing and what came to be known as "big band" music. Starting in 1923, the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra began modifying their arrangements, featuring a call-and-response relationship between brass and reed sections, and creating interludes to back up soloists. In 1924, Henderson recruited a young trumpeter named Lopuis Armstrong, who pioneered the performance of a solo instrumentalist with sections of the band- or the whole band- as coordinated accompaniment. This large new format rhythmic jazz was said to "swing," and the new style influenced other bands. Duke Ellington credited Henderson as an early inspiration for his own big band. Armstrong left Henderson in 1925 to explore the sound of New Orleans style jazz, bringing it north and developing it in Chicago, a transition that became pivotal in swing history...

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