The Big Band Days: A Memoir and Source Book




Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 12/14/2002

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 8.25x11
Page Count : 180
ISBN : 9781403368584

About the Book

It was the worst of times – war and cold war – yet it was the best of times in the music business.

The Big Band Days, says author and former musician Jack Behrens about his new memoir and source book of the same name, were a wonderful chunk of Americana that continues to live today in different formats.

The swing era, Behrens and others believe, was simply too short.

"Jack recognizes . . . that music cannot survive as a museum piece and his nostalgic documentation of big band leaders, movies and ballrooms segue into a detailed listing on current jazz festivals, swing organizations, web sites and educational resources . . . As fond as I am of rock’n’roll, I wish the garage bands I played in had been struggling to play stock arrangements on ‘In the Mood’ or ‘Take the A Train’ instead of the top ten of 1965. I fantasize at times about growing up when my father did, when swing was the thing," says Monk Rowe, composer/arranger/bandleader and director of the popular Hamilton College (NY) Jazz Archive.

"Jack writes from a double perspective, as a fan and as a swing musician himself. He weaves stories and anecdotes from his extensive interview that illuminate the role of the well known and the hardly known. His own experiences as a young drummer were shared by countless sidemen whose names never made it to the back of the album cover."

Big Band Days gives you an up-close-and-personal look at the musicians of another day and their lives on the road but it also offers you an interactive way to connect with the music because it really didn’t go away. The book includes a complete listing of monthly jazz and swing festivals throughout the country and how to contact them, where to turn your radio dial to hear swing and big band sounds, where to study big bad, jazz and swing, internet sources about people instruments and events and a myriad of other information about the era.

And, says Monk Rowe, you just have to take the fifty-question big band trivia test at the end of the book. "It’s a hoot."

About the Author

A nationally known and award-winning columnist, editor and writer, Jack Behrens founded the journalism program at Utica College of Syracuse University New York in 1972 and continues to teach as a Reader’s Digest Foundation Magazine Professor at several eastern universities. Columbia Scholastic Press Association awarded him the coveted Gold Key Award in 2000 for his efforts and devotion to student press issues.

He has authored or edited fifteen books and written more than 11,000 magazine articles for national and international publications. His popular public affairs radio program is broadcast weekly in Central New York.

His work with Roots author, Alex Haley, in the 1970s produced three books on writing including a popular text, The Writing Business (Steffen, 1991). An earlier book, Typewriter Guerrillas (Nelson-Hall, 1976-77) was chosen and Editor & Publisher best seller.

His big band days, however, were a special six years in the late 1940s and early 1950s when he played and met bandleaders and musicians he never forgot. And he never forgot hauling a Slingerland drum set through Midwest towns and cities.

This book is dedicated to the more than eighty musicians, bandleaders, dancers, entertainers and music lovers who participated by remembering their involvement in the "swing era" and playing music that has never died.