Jazz_PPT_ch07 - Jazz Scott DeVeaux & Gary Giddins Click...

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Click to edit Master subtitle style Jazz Lecture Outlines and Art Chapter 7 Swing Bands © 2009 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
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Photo 7-10 © 2009 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
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Swing § During the 1930s, jazz was called swing. The features of swing include: Played by big bands made of instrumental sections of reeds, brass, and rhythm Derived from music of the 1920s Retained rhythmic contrast, bluesy phrasing, and balance between improvisation and composition Commercial Homophonic textures, bluesy riffs, clearly defined melodies, dance grooves
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The Depression § Swing was bounded by two events. The first was the Great Depression, which started in 1929 and deepened during the early 1930s. Swing, like other popular culture forms, acted as a counterstatement to the deep anxiety caused by the Depression. But swing also demanded action in the form of exuberant and partly improvised dance. Moreover, it was teenagers’ music, perhaps the first of its kind.
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Photo 7-11 © 2009 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
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World War II § This was the second major event. After four years of fighting and devoting the nation’s manpower and production capabilities to the war, the country demilitarized, and as servicemen and ‐women returned home, the dancing culture flared, and with it the economic basis for swing. § During the war, swing was very popular. For many it symbolized the strengths of American democracy: it was participatory, informal, and built community.
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Swing and Race § African Americans, as usual, lined up to volunteer to fight. But, again as usual, the armed forces were segregated and, except for a few exceptions, African Americans were trained in segregated camps with white officers and restricted to menial labor. Racism was in the air. The Japanese were characterized as “yellow.” Accordingly, black newspapers called for a “Double V” campaign—victory abroad and victory over racial prejudice at home.
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Swing and Race (cont’d) § Swing played both sides of the race card. On the one hand it was a symbol of black culture: its dance steps were developed by black teenagers; its call-and-response, riff- based performance practices mimicked black church music; and it boosted the careers of some black bandleaders. On the other hand, whites didn’t know the black origins of the music, the dance, or the language (“jive”) that went with it; black bands had to tour the Jim Crow South; and some black musicians felt the music had been stolen from them.
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Swing and Economics § The Depression almost destroyed the record industry, along with the availability of free music on the radio. Familiar companies went bankrupt or were bought out. By the mid- 1930s, things were beginning to look up due to the popularity of the jukebox and price reductions by a few of the surviving recording companies, Decca plus two firms owned by radio networks (Columbia by CBS; Victor by NBC). These were the three majors. § Industry concentration also occurred in the radio business,
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Jazz_PPT_ch07 - Jazz Scott DeVeaux & Gary Giddins Click...

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