Legendary Big Bands
A big band, also known as a Jazz Orchestra, is a large musical ensemble that plays jazz music, especially Swing.
The band is divided up into a number of sections, by instrument; each section usually has four or more members. All bands usually have a rhythm section, made up of drum set, bass, piano, and possibly guitar. There are also sections for trumpets, trombones, and saxophones (who sometimes double on flute or clarinet).
Sometimes there will also be a percussion section, especially if the band plays Latin jazz or salsa music.
Big band music was especially popular during the 1940s, and much of the best-known popular music of the era was recorded by them.
Amongst the most famous bands were Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, Woody Herman, Boyd Raeburn, Paul Whiteman, Artie Shaw, Les Brown.
Also very well known during the Big Band Era were famous swing and jazz singers like Billie Holiday and groups like The Andrews Sisters, the most successful female group of all-time.
For a while, Big Band and Swing were replaced by other music. But, with the New Millenium, it's making a huge comeback through a new generation who has re-discovered Swing and Jazz.
This new generation is not only playing the great standards of the Swing era, but they're also writing new tunes in Swing fashion.
Television shows like "So You Think You Can Dance" have brought back the "Swing" dances of the past.
Big Band, Jazz and Swing are still very much alive and well.
For more information: The Origins of Big Band Music