Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Live Music

By Erwin Uyeda, Ewa

Swing music, also known as swing jazz or simply swing, is a form of jazz music that developed in the early 1930s and became a distinctive style by 1935 in the United States. At this time, the Big Bands also evolved with sometimes over 20 members in the band. Very good in big ballrooms with over 500 dancer capacity. With a heavy cover charge and good prices on drinks they had huge crowds trying to get in.
"The best way to prepare for life is to begin to live."

Swing uses a strong rhythm section of double bass and drums as the anchor for a lead section of brass instruments. Such as trumpets and trombones, woodwinds including saxophones and clarinets, and sometimes stringed instruments such as violin and guitar.
"Chariots Of Fire" by Vangelis

Swing bands usually played medium to fast tempos; and a "lilting" swing time rhythm. They usually featured soloists who would improvise a new melody over the arrangement. The danceable swing style of band leaders such as Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and Count Basie was the dominant form of American popular music from 1935 to 1945.

However after WWII, the crowds began to dwindle and the number of band members began to decline too. Bands with less than ten members became prominent and the ballrooms got smaller and crowds got smaller. With the advent of the Disk Jockey the opportunities for any bands become less numerable and the sizes of the room to dance became smaller and more of a Night Club venue. And this happened to all the types of dance and the music that went with it.

In Hawaii, in this new century, there has been an awakening of interest in the 50s, 60s style of live music. And this is going throughout the islands. The only thing difference is the amount of alcohol required to dance and dancers have inherited a reputation as non-drinkers. Most Night Clubs have not made adjustment to the fact and insist on making their overhead on the alcohol bar tab. Not anymore.

Pub's Side Note: The verb "to swing" is also used as a term of praise for playing that has a strong rhythmic "groove" or drive. And in Hawaii, "The music don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that swing." And check out Calvin's blog in Town Dancer. A doozie.

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