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America's Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway: Swing Jazz

Your Project Scholar

 Richard Mook, Ph.D.

Contact Info

Arizona State University
Herberger Institute
for Design and the Arts
School of Music

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Printable Essay: Swing Jazz

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Session 5


Wednesday, October 30, 7:30 p.m.

ASU Tempe, Hayden Library, Room C-6A
300 E. Orange Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281


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Featured Films

Swing Jazz
Spans nearly a century of jazz styles, while also highlighting America's first integrated all-women swing band.
Film 1:  Ken Burns' Jazz Episode 6: Swing, The Velocity of Celebration
Ken Burns, 2001
Film 2: International Sweethearts of Rhythm
Greta Schiller and Andrea Weiss, 1986

Film Discussion Points

1. How was the evolution of jazz influenced by the Great Depression and World War II?
2. Who were the great innovators of swing jazz and what were the unique contributions of each?
3. What was the appeal of Swing jazz to young people in the 1930’s and 40’s? Why did its appeal cross racial barriers?
4. How was the cultural landscape of America changed by the immense popularity of swing jazz? How were other art forms affected by the invention of swing?
5. Is the best music also the most popular music? How does music become popular? Does the media make music popular, or do consumers decide what is popular? What social, political and technological trends helped to make Swing jazz so popular?
6. What made it possible for a group of 14-19 year old young women musicians from different races to form The International Sweethearts of Rhythm? What motivated them to perform? What obstacles did they face and why were they able to succeed in the way they did? What was happening in 1940’s America that made it possible for them to have an audience?


Your Librarian

Christopher Mehrens's picture
Christopher Mehrens
Music Library



Printable Film Discussion Points: Swing Jazz

America's Music

“America’s Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway” is a project by the Tribeca Film Institute in collaboration with the American Library Association, Tribeca Flashpoint, and the Society for American Music.  “America’s Music” has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor.

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