The Big Band Era of 1935 to 1946 was the only time in America's history when jazz was the most popular form of music. Fifteen piece swinging dance bands swept the country in popularity. The music they played became an important part of America's cultural history and created a level of morale that helped pull us through the Great Depression and World War II. When Swing Was the Thing presents both an excellent introduction to the Era and new information for those already familiar with it, providing detailed profiles of the Era's bandleaders, musicians, vocalists, arrangers, and contributors, many based on personal interviews. This book fully captures the nostalgic flavor of the Big Band Era through 114 vintage photographs and the story of the lives of the people who made it happen.
John Tumpak is a jazz journalist who lives in Los Angeles and specializes in writing about the Big Band Era. His articles have been published in the United States, Canada, and England and archived in several historical societies, universities, and the Institute of Jazz Studies. Through the years Tumpak has developed personal associations with many of the bandleaders, musicians, and vocalists who participated in the Era. They are the subjects of his articles and provide valuable insights into the culture of the time. Tumpak also lectures on the Big Band Era at public presentations and on radio. He is a member of the Jazz Journalists Association, Los Angeles Jazz Institute, Los Angeles Jazz Society, and serves on the board of directors of the Big Band Academy of America.