The Book Of Jazz - online reference book

Its Nature, Instruments, Sources, Sounds, Development & Performers

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
The Big Bands
top-heavy and incapable of swinging naturally—in other words, the maximum size that a band can reach before it ceases to be a medium for the purveying of jazz—is still a subject for consider­able debate among musicians and critics. The use of a string section seems to be no further advanced than it was a decade or two ago, at least in terms of its use as a genuine jazz factor in the orchestra; similarly the incorporation of French horns, oboes and other instruments not commonly used in jazz has yet to become a major element in the revitalization of contemporary orchestral techniques.
In conclusion it should be pointed out that the impossibility of devoting an entire book to the big bands of jazz precludes any more than a nominal mention of many organizations that made an occasional and invigorating stop for jazz fuel while in transit, though in most instances their journeys are over or have reached a musically insignificant dead end. Some were led by musicians whose importance as bandleaders was secondary to their con­tributions as instrumentalists, and who were therefore dealt with in earlier CHAPTERs. Others were led by men whose bands were good while they lasted, but whose importance was transient. Fitting into one or another of these categories are the big bands of Will Bradley, Sonny Burke, Sam Donahue, Coleman Hawkins, Les Hite, Claude Hopkins, George Hudson, Harry James, Jeter-Pillars, Gene Krupa, Hal Mclntyre, Ray McKinley, Jan Savitt, Freddie Slack, Muggsy Spanier, Jack Teagarden, Cootie Williams and Teddy Wilson.