Swing: Pure Pleasure (1935-1937)

Season 1, Episode 5 of 10

Big band jazz, "swing," becomes the most popular music in America. Clarinetist Benny Goodman, whose band creates a sensation on radio broadcasts and in live performances, becomes the first white bandleader to hire black musicians and presents the first integrated public performances of jazz. Billie Holiday's buoyant music and exquisite phrasing enable her to overcome a limited range as a singer. Louis Armstrong lands roles in Hollywood films, and Duke Ellington continues to compose distinctive music for the members of his band. Swing bands, headed by Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Lunceford, Glenn Miller and Goodman's rival, Artie Shaw, achieve enormous popularity. Some jazz fans, disturbed by the popularity of swing, look backwards and start a movement to embrace "traditional" jazz. Drummer and bandleader Chick Webb's propulsive music inspires dancers at Harlem's integrated Savoy Ballroom. In the western "territories," a blues- soaked big band jazz style is set to further transform jazz.

Previously Aired

9 p.m.
1 a.m.
3 p.m.
AZPM is a service of the University of Arizona and our broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents who hold the trademarks for Arizona Public Media and AZPM. We respectfully acknowledge the University of Arizona is on the land and territories of Indigenous peoples.
The University of Arizona