From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"New York Negro swing centers around three big bands, that of Henderson, Luis Russell and His Orchestra which played at the Saratoga Club in 1929, and Duke Ellington's large group which played at the Kentucky Club in 1926 and at the Cotton Club In 1927."--Shining Trumpets, a History of Jazz (1946) by Rudi Blesh, p. 277
A big band is a type of musical ensemble associated with playing jazz music and which became popular during the Swing Era from the early 1930s until the late 1940s. A big band typically consists of approximately 12 to 25 musicians and contains saxophones, trumpets, trombones, and a rhythm section. The terms jazz band, jazz ensemble, stage band, jazz orchestra, and dance band are also used to refer to this type of ensemble.
In contrast to smaller jazz combos, in which most of the music is improvised, or created spontaneously, music played by big bands is highly "arranged", or prepared in advance and notated on sheet music. The music is traditionally called 'charts'. Improvised solos may be played only when called for by the arranger.
- List of big bands
- Swing (jazz performance style), a term of praise for playing that has a strong rhythmic "groove" or drive