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Big Band & Swing

Big band jazz dates back to as early as the 1910s, but was hugely popular throughout the first half of twentieth century. Duke Ellington was its most important creative force in the 1930s and 1940s. The term itself refers to large-ensemble jazz bands consisting of ten or more musicians, primarily brass players. Due to the number of players involved, big band music places less emphasis on improvisation and more on written compositions. Swing was essentially another name for big band music, but with more of a rhythm and blues drive, often with less reliance on "charts", as epitomised by the Count Basie Band's swaggering Kansas City sound.

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