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Swing Era Soloists

This chapter surveys the musical contributions of prominent individual musicians of the Swing Era. We meet “the standard,” tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, who served as a paradigm for many other fine soloists (Roy Eldridge, Benny Carter, Chu Berry); and “the alternative,” Lester Young, whose timbral and rhythmic innovations foreshadowed more modern jazz. We look at jazz in Europe (focusing on guitarist Django Reinhardt) and at the very different careers of two crucial singers, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald.

  • Coleman Hawkins, Body and Soul
  • Count Basie/Lester Young, Oh! Lady Be Good
  • Benny Carter/Django Reinhardt, I’m Coming, Virginia
  • Billie Holiday, A Sailboat in the Moonlight
  • Ella Fitzgerald, Blue Skies

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