The great era of swing may feel to some like it just left us, but we’re rapidly approaching the 100th anniversary of the genre’s heydey. Like all types of music from the past, though, swing never really died completely, instead falling into somewhat semi-obscurity.
Thanks to the modern music scene, swing has seen something of a revival. Below are some of the biggest highlights of the world of the classic sound right now as we head through the 2020s.
The Original Swing Era
Most music historians put the ‘golden age’ of swing in the 30s, complete with names such as Glenn Miller or Cab Calloway. During this period, swing was the de-facto pop music of the United States, although beyond Miller, the name recognition of big band leaders is extremely low nowadays.
The difference is stark when you compare it to the stars of the rock ‘n’ roll era afterward, with Elvis Presley remaining the most recognizable musical icon worldwide. Tragic pioneers like Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper have been immortalized in multiple forms including in movies, other songs like American Pie and in online casinos. The latter two musicians have real slots online based on their most famous imagery and music, highlighting just how much of a lasting impact they’ve had despite having careers cut short.
The Modern Form of Swing
Across the decades, swing has survived in part by adopting elements from the other genres that rose up, such as groups integrating swing with disco back in the 1970s. Only recently have we started to see something resembling original swing in modern fashion. One of the biggest and most successful swing groups recently has been the Austrian indie group Marina and the Kats, a four-piece group centered around singer Marina who has a voice straight from the last century.
On the big band side of swing, groups like the Captain Black Big Band and the Maria Schneider Orchestra are keeping the tradition very much alive and well. The latter even worked with David Bowie in 2014 for his single “Sue (or in a Season of Crime)”.
Swing’s Next Evolution
Away from the traditionalists, swing has found much more mainstream and wide-reaching success in the form of its latest evolution: electro-swing. Combining swing styles and sounds with electronic instrument recreations has created a high-energy, modern-sounding version that keeps all the features that define the genre.
Social media has done a lot for prominent electro-swing groups like Caravan Palace, a French group that routinely shows up on ‘best of’ compilations. While groups like these are routinely criticized by purists from both the original and electronic sides, the genre has carved out a sizable piece of the online music scene for itself and has been a fixture for over a decade now.
While we’re unlikely to see a full revival of traditional swing music or culture any time soon, these modern versions are keeping the legacy alive with no real indications of their passion, or that of their fans, dying down any time soon.