Books about Swing Music and Dancing
Norma Miller: Swingin' at the Savoy
-- The Memoir of a Jazz Dancer
** If you only ever read one book about Swing, this must be the one!
Christian Batchelor: This Thing Called SWING
-- A Study of SWING MUSIC and the LINDY HOP, the Original Swing Dance
Gene Fernett: Swing Out
-- Great Negro Dance Bands
Lewis A. Erenberg: Swingin' the Dream
-- Big Band Jazz and the Rebirth of American Culture
** I finally finished it. Very ponderous reading. Author keeps reiterating
each point. Deja-lu all over again. Definitely worth reading, but a
struggle. He claims that Norma's book was published too late (1996) for
him to include it (1998)!
James Lincoln Collier: Jazz - The American Theme Song
** Excellent background on the the culture of Jazz, including the factors of
feminism, immigration and big city industrial economy that made it possible.
Gunther Schuller: The Swing Era
-- The Development of Jazz 1930-1945
** This is a 900 page textbook and resource book on Swing music history
George T. Simon: The Big Bands
** Lighter than Schuller. 600 pages
David W. Stowe: Swing Changes
-- Big-Band Jazz in New Deal America
Ted Vincent: Keep Cool
-- The Black Activists who Built the Jazz Age
Scott DeVeaux: The Birth of Bebop
-- A Social and Musical History
LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka): Blues People
-- Negro Music in White America
Donald Clarke: The Rise and Fall of Popular Music
Marshall & Jean Stearns: Jazz Dance
-- The Story of American Vernacular Dance
** This is an important reference book, but it contains many *serious*
mistakes, especially about the Swing Era and Lindy Hop. The book
contains much opinion and hearsay, all mixed in with facts. Be
sure to verify everything you read against reliable sources.
(Alex Haley) - The Autobiography of Malcolm X
** page numbers from the First Paperback Edition 1966
Highlights: (page.paragraph ... *my* notes)
28.1.2-3 1937? eh:tj s&s:ff
30.3. gm:ms is:iidc
35.1 1940 eh de cw b/w alternate nights roseland boston
49.4-5 de cb lh cw jl
50.4 ... b/w dance styles, jam circle
52.2-4 zoot suit
56 "Laura" entire chapter 4 *must* read this
70 "Harlemite" entire chapter 5 1942
81.4... 3 pages of Harlem history
110.4 "One of the world's sweetest people is Hamp"
136.2 fall 1945 "I didn't lindy-hop any more now"
Murray Ginsberg: They Loved to Play
-- Memories of the Golden Age in Canadian Music
Sheila Tracy: Bands, Booze and Broads
** suggested by Nina Okens:
Anecdotal account of the musicians and band leaders of the swing era. Not
much about dancing, but you get a good feeling for the mood of the time.
** Peter: I ordered it, it came, I skimmed it, I didn't buy it. Bleached.
Gunter Lust: The Flat Foot Floogie...
-- Erlebnisse eines Hamburger Swingheinis 1936 bis 1966
Wilfried Breyvogel (Hg.): Piraten, Swings und Junge Garde
-- Jugendwiderstand im Nationalsozialismus
Bernd Polster (Hg.): Swing Heil
-- Jazz im Nationalsozialismus
Suggested by Eric Martin Usner :
Musik im Dritten Reich - Josef Wulf; Musik im NS Stadt - Fredrich
Preiberg; and a great sort of selected readings of reprinted articles
etc.: Musik und Musik Politik Im Faschististen Deutschland -
Heister/Klein. And the must is the catalog from the 1938 exhibition
entitled "Entartete Musik" which was held in Dusseldorf. There was a
reprint of the catalog in 1988. You should be able to find it in a
Some other titles in English:
Michael Meyer - The Politics of Music in the Third Reich; Erik Levi -
Music in the Third Reich; Michael Kater - Different Drummers: Jazz in
the Culture of Nazi Germany Hitler's Airwaves: The Inside Story of Nazi
Radio Broadcasting - Bergmeier/Rainer
Finally, a great, great read, a collection of essays by Czech exile, who
your probably familiar with since he's now Canadian, Josef Sckvorecky.
Great novels, but begin with Talkin' Moscow Blues. He recounts his
experiences as a swing lover and musician during nazi occupation.
I don't read French so well, but I do recall coming across a title or
two on the topic as well. Hope you find these useful. It's such a
fascinating topic. Particularly the manner in which anti-jazz and anti-
swing sentiments and propaganda of Nazi Germany so closely resembled
similar sentiments found in America during the 20's-40's.
Toronto (416) 323-1300