Entering the era of the 40s does not leave the Swing behind but instead, finds it going as strong as ever! Early in the decade swing, jazz and big band tunes rocked the radio and jukebox of young and old alike. The big band ensembles generally consisted of 12-25 musicians playing a variety of instruments whose music was often depicted as a form of jazz. Popularity waned due to musicians' strikes and gave way to 'crooners' later in the decade. One of the most famous musicians of the 1940s was Glenn Miller. Click the little jukebox at the right and listen to Glenn Miller's "Jeep Jockey Jump" and check out the other music clips.
"A band ought to have a sound all of it’s own. It ought to have a personality."
- Glenn Miller
The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra formed in 1956 is the most popular and sought after band in the world today for both concerts and swing dance engagements. Its music involves a lot of bass instruments led by a strong rhythm section.
And, that is not all...the music just keeps getting better!
One of the innovators of the 1940s musical style was Dizzy Gillespie. Dizzy's puffy cheeks were his trademark denoting he was a prominent jazz trumpeter and band leader during the 40s era. Did you know he helped create the bebop style of music? A fast-tempo style of jazz found itself combined with scat singing (improvised vocal jazz using non-sensical words). The music appeared to sound racing, nervous, erratic, and often fragmented. Jazz musicians and jazz music lovers found bebop to be exciting and a beautiful revolution in the art of jazz.
Of course, we can't leave without mentioning the baritone voice of Cab Calloway. He was a successful band leader often referred to as the "Hi De Ho" guy who came to prominence in the 1940s. Legend has it Cab forgot the words to a song during a performance. His only recourse was improvising nonsensical syllables to fit the beat of the music. It was a hit! [Calloway is also synonymous with the Betty Boop Cartoon. His popular song "Minnie the Moocher" was used as the score for one of the episodes.]
Then, there was WAR!
Many musical scores tried to capture the pain and suffering of World War Il, while at the same time, instill a feeling of hope within an atmosphere of hopelessness. The music remained upbeat even though the impending future of the country was uncertain.
Swing music led to swing dancing, very upbeat, high energy and fun! Watching people dance the swing leaves you with the feeling they KNOW how to dance. Lot different from the so-called dancing of our youth in the 21st century.
You decide: After watching the video, are you energized or just plain pooped? Me? I am exhausted just from moving my feet to the music...I am sitting down!
The age of "Crooners" was at its height during the 1940s. The term "Crooners" was coined after male vocalists who often displayed powerful, professionally trained voices. Their stage demeanor portrayed an intimate posture and stage presence. There were many recording artists classified as a Crooner, such as Bing Crosby, Nat "King" Cole, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como and Dean Martin. Even some females were acclaimed to be "Crooners" because of their powerful voices: Judy Garland, Dinah Shore, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Kay Starr, Doris Day, to name a few. So much nostalgia within the era of the 1940s!
What do you think of the music of the '40s era?
And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times. . .