What is Swing?
Swing, in jazz, has multiple meanings. The word refers both to a style of music and a musical technique.
Swing: A style of music that was popular from roughly 1930 until around World War II. The music of the swing era, performed mostly by big bands, reached broad audiences over the radio, on records, and in dance halls nation wide. Here’s sample of big band swing by Count Basie:
Swing: A particular lilting rhythm that produces a propulsive feel or groove.
A song played so that it “swings” does not have equal emphasis on each beat. When “swinging it” players give some beats more weight and a little extra something: They demonstrate an ability to hit the beat early (anticipate) or late (lay back) and yet maintain the overall timing precisely. Players who “really swing” have a finely calibrated internal clock and great precision. When the members of the band are all doing this together the band really swings!
Defining Swing: You cannot always define Swing, something is either swingin’ or it ain’t…It’s the particular “feel” within the music. Big bands, small bands and even individual players can make music swing. Musicians can choose to play songs in straight rhythm or swing rhythm. Any song can be “swung” weather it is a slow ballad or up-tempo tune. A great example of a player who can swing almost anything is pianist Monty Alexander.
Jazz Standard: Jazz standards are musical compositions which are widely known, performed, and recorded by jazz musicians, and widely known by music fans.Not all jazz standards were written by jazz composers. Many are originally Tin Pan Alley popular songs, Broadway show tunes or songs from Hollywood musicals – the so-called Great American Songbook. The jazz standard repertoire has some overlap with blues and pop standards.
Elevate Your Listening – And a real piano!
July 12 at 8:00 PM The Jazz Soirée will present an interactive concert of jazz standards played in swing style. The concert is in the second floor Music Room at The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and we’ll be using the grand piano. (Yes, electric keyboards are fun and easy to transport but this is the real deal!)
The FluteDaddy quartet for this performance features a masterful rhythm section that really knows how to swing. Keyboard whiz David Hanson will be playing the grand piano, with classical/jazz bassist Marc Neihof and first call drummer and clinician Michael Marlier.
Come swing with us!