To say there was only one thread of jazz coming out of the big band era is false. Certainly, all of the giants of the era – Armstrong, Ellington and Basie – continued to perform with a variety of sizes of ensembles. However, in a nod to the pop music industry, Armstrong, Basie and to a lesser degree, Ellington, all tempered their sounds for a post WW II audience. Their concerts certainly contained the hot jazz arrangements that were their trademarks, but there were soon just as many “hot-pop” arrangements on the music stands. Basie’s work with Frank Sinatra and then with Ella Fitzgerald in the late ’50’s and early ’60’s were excellent examples of “swinging pop” recordings. The essence of the big band sound was there, but it was being tempered and condensed for a more contemporary audience.
Besides the mainstreaming of the traditional big band sound, two other streams of creativity forked from the swing era. Each played an important role in American music.
The first signs of the demise of the big band era started happening in 1942. Crowds were beginning to become restless with the repetition of the big band sound. After seven years, the itch to hear something new was starting to appear.