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Big band
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Big band

A big band, also known as a jazz orchestra, is a large musical ensemble that plays jazz music, especially Swing.

The band is divided up into a number of sections, by instrument; each section usually has four or more members. All bands usually have a rhythm section, made up of drum set, bass, piano, and possibly guitar. There are also sections for trumpets, trombones, and saxophones (who sometimes double on flute or clarinet).

Sometimes there will also be a percussion section, especially if the band plays latin jazz or salsa music.

Big band music peaked in popularity during the 1940s, and much of the best-known popular music of the era was recorded by them. The bands of Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Fletcher Henderson, Woody Herman, Glenn Miller, Boyd Raeburn, Paul Whiteman, Artie Shaw, Les Brown are amongst the best known.

Big band music is still very much alive today, thanks in large part to the popularity of jazz ensembles at high schools and colleges around the world. Most of these jazz ensembles have the same instrumentation as the big bands that were popular in the 1940s, and they often play wide range of music from old Swing standards to new compositions and arrangements of new popular songs from big band arrangers like Sammy Nestico and Tom Kubis.

Details of all known Big Bands can be found on The Big Bands Database plus at [1].

This is a list of band leaders who worked mainly in Britain taken from Julien Vedey's book Band Leaders (London, 1950):