Welcome to SWING & Beyond, the blog that is dedicated to that thing called SWING. Swing as a noun has come to mean the vital and exciting mixture of classic jazz and American Popular Song. As a verb, it means to make music in a manner that causes feet to pat and fingers to snap. This blog will showcase the music, history, and images of the swing era (roughly 1935-1950). It will also include material from from years both before and after the swing era, because Swing is a rich musical tradition that endures to this day. Great music occupies its own present tense. Here you will be able to listen to and learn about some of the greatest music in the swing idiom, and in other compatible musical idioms. Your guide will be jazz historian and author MICHAEL P. ZIRPOLO. His commentary will accompany whatever is posted, and it will inform and stimulate discussion. Once the music and Mike’s commentary have been posted, the forum will be opened to your comments, questions, and insights. The objective of this blog is to share the music, history, and images in the swing idiom, and seek a deeper, richer understanding and appreciation of what swing is, and why it is so great. On this website Swing is King!
Swing and Beyond contains several categories, including:
Swing 101: which will introduce people to the music, musicians, and singers of the swing era, and lay the foundation for more investigation by curious music lovers.
Masterpieces: which will include classic performances generally recognized over the years as quintessential examples of the swing idiom.
Sleepers: which will include marvelous performances that are great examples of swing, but for whatever reason have never or rarely been recognized as such.
Too Good Not to Share: which will present swinging music that may or may not be strictly within the swing idiom, but which is so good that it begs to be shared, discussed and enjoyed.
Swingscapes: writings about swing by Michael P. Zirpolo and other experts. These writings will provide a context for the music you will be hearing, and allow for a deeper understanding of the music and the people who made it.
Spotlight on Sidemen (and Women): will recognize the talents of many great musicians who never made names for themselves as leaders, but who nevertheless contributed greatly to the swing canon.
Swing and Swing Redux: will give you the opportunity to compare and contrast vintage performances from the swing era with later performances.
Movie and TV music: will remind us that a lot of great music that has become a part of the fabric of American culture was written for and/or first performed in a movie or in a television show.
Broadway: will recognize the talents of American composers who have created many of the greatest songs in the American pop music canon for presentation as a part of a play on Broadway.
Well-Chosen Waltzes: will shine the swingandbeyond.com spotlight on some of the most beautiful and memorable music that was composed and/or performed in 3/4 meter.
Seasons and Such: celebrate music inspired by the various seasons, months and special days of the year.
Swinging the Classics: Much wonderful music in the swing idiom has been derived from “classical” melodies. And since celebration of great melodies is a central part of our mission here, I think that Swinging the Classics will be an appropriate and useful category for visitors to swingandbeyond.com.
Far Out! If you want to stretch your aesthetic sensibilities within the swing idiom, check out the posts in this category.
Blog/Archives: which will allow people to easily go to the music and commentary they are looking for again and again.
Links: which will give you quick access to other websites and information about swing, classic jazz, and American popular song.
Content for this website will be added at regular intervals. As time passes, what is posted by me and others will gradually become a wonderful resource for those who are interested in swing.
A word about sound: Some of the recordings you will hear may be as old as 90 years. That should not scare you. I think you will be amazed at the high quality of the sound of most of these recordings. I have been perfecting my skills at digitally remastering these vintage recordings for the last twenty years. I have made every reasonable effort to obtain the best source recordings and clean them up so that they sparkle. I think you will agree that the sound of the music comes through brightly and vividly on them.
This blog is intended solely for educational and cultural purposes. No one connected with it is paid either directly or indirectly. I am not interested in monetizing this blog. The Fair Use provision of the U.S. copyright law (17 USC 107), provides in pertinent part that a copyrighted work may be used “… for purposes such as criticism, comment, teaching, scholarship or research,…” and that such uses are “not an infringement of copyright.” This blog exists solely to foster knowledge, understanding, appreciation and scholarship regarding great American music.
I request that all posts on this blog be civilized, and respectful of the fact that different people have different opinions, all of which have value. We all learn from each other.
P.S. Although I do my best to provide the most accurate and complete information on this blog, I am not infallible. I will always welcome more authoritative information about the subjects discussed here. If anyone has any questions about the sources for material used on this blog, please post your question, and I will answer it on the blog so that everyone who comes to the blog will be able to get that information.
If you are interested in in-depth information about one of swing’s greatest musicians, trumpeter Bunny Berigan, check out our sister blog: https://bunnyberiganmrtrumpet.com/