The Big Band is a type of jazz music which evoloved from the fusion of predominantly African-American jazz music with the concert and dance band traditions of European-Americans. A blend of the orchestrated, tightly controlled world of concert band and the freewheeling improvisation of jazz, the Big Band was the apex of the dance-band jazz that began as the Chicago Jazz sound.The sound migrated with Southern musicians to the Northern industrial cities, where big talents met the big money of wealthy young industrialists and a growing middle class that craved entertainment. From Chicago's speakeasies to Broadway and Harlem, the music moved, was adopted by black musicians' white peers, and popularized as the dominant musical entertainment form until Rock-and-Roll invaded in the 1950s.
A Big Band differs from a concert band in that it does not play concert music. Most of the charts played by a big band are geared towards adult night club audiences and parties featuring dancing, as the sound is largely a dance music
Big Band jazz came into full blossom during the "Swing Era" from the early 1930s until the late 1940s when young white America adopted the sound and paid the kind of money to hear it that made it feasible for band leaders to "super-size" their bands to create a bigger, brassier sound.
Big Bands evolved with the times and, even though this stream of jazz nearly died off in the 1960s when Rock & Roll took a firm hold of the American musical psyche, big bands continue to play today.
A Big Band typically consists of approximately 12 to 25 musicians and contains saxophones, trumpets, trombones, singers (or vocalists), and a rhythm section. The terms Jazz Band, Jazz Ensemble, Stage Band, Jazz Orchestra, Society Band and Dance Band may be used to describe a specific type of big band.
In contrast to smaller jazz combos, in which most of the music is improvised, or created spontaneously, music played by big bands is highly "arranged", or prepared in advance and notated on sheet music. The music is traditionally called 'charts'. Improvised solos may be played only when called for by the arranger.
The full list of Big Bands, professional and college. Check out some legendary groups!