Friday, July 27, 2012

The Big Band Era

The Big Band Era began in the late '20s and early '30s with a significant connection to jazz and ensemble dance music, and evolved into a phenomenon which lasted until just after World War II.  All the surviving music of the time emulated this style, which evolved from pure dance music to a jazz-like "swing" music which became insanely big under the leadership of such band masters as Glen Miller, Harry James, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Count Basie and Duke Ellington, but the best of the best, in my opinion, was Benny Goodman.  

Goodman hooked up with many of the stellar instrumentalists of his day, such as Lionel Hampton and Harry James, but his big coup actually came in the form of a crazed drummer, Gene Krupa, who very possibly played the most iconic drum solo ever in "Sing Sing Sing".  Here's a taste of it, along with a bonus of Lionel Hampton on the vibraphone.  

This music meant everything to your grandparents and mine.  It was rebellion, fun and a chance to get crazy, and although in the end it was simply the musical identity of a generation.  So, next time one of your patients grouches about "the music these days", instead of blowing them off, mention that you heard Sing Sing Sing and thought it was pretty great.  They'll love you for it.

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