Swing! Swing! Swing!

A celebration of swing music


The Basics

Good for: 12-18 year olds.

Estimated Time: Give yourself some time! If you want to listen all at once, these will take about an hour to complete. But you might want to just take them in one by one.

Key Technology: You can choose to stream these audio clips on a computer using the player above, or you can download them (use the Down-Arrow in the lower right side of the player) and load them onto your computer or an MP3 player to listen to anytime.

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Louis Armstrong said, “If you can’t feel Swing, you’ll never know it.” This series, hosted by Connaitre Miller of Howard University, explores why Swing was the most popular dance music in America and how it is still alive today in dance halls, clubs and movies.

Episode 1: Does it Swing?
There’s a question every good jazz musician can answer just by listening to a song: “Does it Swing?” In this episode, we introduce several kinds of vintage and modern swing music: Swing Jazz, Western Swing, Gypsy Swing, and New Jack Swing and learn what music needs to have in order to “Swing.”

Episode 2: Swing Jazz
“Swing” took over the jazz world in the 1930s and became the music your great-grandparents danced to during World War II. In this episode, modern day Swing performers explain and demonstrate where Swing Jazz came from, why it was so popular, and where you can find it today.

Episode 3: Western Swing
In the 1930s, two types of American music, the rural Country/Western and the urban Swing Jazz, were combined to create Western Swing, a popular type of music that crossed racial boundaries. In this episode we’ll learn about the roots of Western Swing, and hear the music of its most famous performer, Bob Wills.

Episode 4: Gypsy Swing
Jazz is a purely American form of music. With one exception. In the 1930s, Hungarian guitarist Django Reinhardt created a unique form of jazz – Gypsy Swing – that mixed traditional Eastern European music with an American beat. In this episode, Gypsy Jazz violinist Tony Ballog introduces us to the music of Django Reinhardt and Gypsy Swing.


Editors & Producers

Richard Paul
Audio Producer

Kenny Neal
Manager, Digital Education Resources

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