What is a Big Band?

A "Big Band" is a large jazz or popular ensemble that dominated American popular music of the period 1935-45. Typically, a rhythm section of piano, upright bass, drums and guitar accompanies five saxophones (two altos, two tenors, and one baritone, who also double on clarinet and flute) three or four trumpets, three or four trombones. A male or female vocalist frequently performs with such groups. These ensembles, now often called stage bands have enjoyed a considerable revival in high schools and colleges in recent decades. The big cities have also seen an increase of big bands performing for a variety of venues.

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