The Big Bands of Jazz: Then and Now

GENINT 714.326

Osher (50+). This course rediscovers the artists from the Big Band Era (roughly the mid 1930s to the mid 1950s) as well as their arrangers, who created the illusion of improvisation with their carefully prepared pieces of chord voicings, approaches to scale patterns, and the like.

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What you can learn.

  • Identify important jazz artists and their influences
  • Understand the evolution of jazz music in the 20th century
  • Define “Big Band Era” jazz

About this course:

The height of the Big Band Era, when “Swing was King” spanned two decades—from roughly the mid-thirties to the mid-fifties—and the bands of Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Woody Herman, and Artie Shaw were selling records and saturating the radio air waves nightly with live performances.  This course rediscovers these artists as well as their arrangers, who created the illusion of improvisation with their carefully prepared pieces of chord voicings, approaches to scale patterns, and the like. We also revisit Big Band vocalists like Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme, Anita O’Day, June Christy, and Joe Williams. The big bands didn’t die with the 50’s; they just went into an extended hibernation. A special spotlight on LA’s Gordon Goodwin and his Big Phat Band emphasizes that rejuvenation and updated writing for a contemporary big band here in the 21st century.

Contact Us

Speak to an Osher representative. Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm.
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