The Emerald City Jazz Kings 12th Season
Oct, 2007-May, 2008 - Eugene, Oregon
Steve Stone, Music Director
What is "swing"? Many historians have attempted to define the phenomenon, focusing on size (big bands only or all types of groups?) nature of performance (arranged or improvised? jazz or pop?), relationship to audiences (commercial or artistic?), musical elements and many other factors. Ultimately it comes down to personal taste and perspective. Opinions in 2007 are probably much different than they were in 1937.
But we do know that a phenomenon called swing was a very popular musical form in the late 1930s and early 1940s and that it is neatly delimited by the dates listed above. 1935 was the year Benny Goodman and his band burst upon the scene, to be followed by thousands of others hoping to capitalize on his new found popularity. And 1946 was the year when the bubble burst--in December of that year, either of the major bands in the country abruptly quit the business for a variety of reasons.
We know in hindsight that swing was to be found in various forms for some 10 to 15 years before 1935 in the music of Fletcher Henderson, Don Redman, Paul Whiteman and the Casa Loma Orchestra. And it has survived to this day, although in a much different context.
Nevertheless, these eleven years do signify a period when swing was the popular music of the land and the only time when jazz was an integral part of pop culture. We will focus our programs on the bands of three major leaders--Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and Woody Herman--who at different times during that decade were musical and artistic style setters in very different ways. These are not the only significant leaders of the time, but by dedicating their 2007-08 season to the music of these 3 bandleaders, Steve Stone and The Emerald City Jazz kings intend to shed some light on the nature of swing. Don't miss out on the fun!