Territory band

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Territory bands (mostly Territory Bands in the relevant literature ) were the names of those bands in the era of swing bands in the 1930s that were not based in the metropolises of jazz such as New York City or Chicago . In addition, they were limited in their radius of action to a certain area, which they defended in competitions against other bands ( Battle of Bands ).

These bands covered the entire area of ​​the USA, making a significant contribution to the popularization of swing , i.e. modern dance music. Most of these bands, however, did not get the opportunity to put their music on records. They came in different styles of dance music, and they were mostly composed of African-Americans . Initially, they toured by rail and an instrument truck, later with tour buses. The decline of this predominantly instrumental musical culture, which originated before 1920, to the massive deaths of big bands in the late 1940s and early 1950s, had various causes, including the depression in the 1930s, the rigid unions, the radio that amplified Singing, amplified instruments and the closure of the dance halls, which offered space for up to 3000 dancers and had to be acoustically sounded accordingly.

The most important center of this Territory Jazz is Kansas City (a traffic junction where the bands mostly had to travel through and where regular band competitions took place), the Midwest and the South of the USA . Not only did the most famous Kansas City jazz bands come from this area, such as Count Basie , Andy Kirk and Jay McShann , but also less well-known bands such as Bill Carlsen and Bernie Young in Milwaukee , George E. Lee and Grant Moore and his New Orleans Black Devils , Bill Brown and His Brownies, and the Hunter's Serenaders . Many later famous jazz musicians like Jimmy Crawford , Budd Johnson , Jimmy Rushing or Walter Page played in territory bands at the beginning of their careers .

One of the earliest of these bands was that of Alphonse Trent . She worked in the Dallas area for about a decade until 1934 . Also in Texas, in San Antonio , the orchestra of Troy Floyd , Boots Douglas and Sunny Clapp and His Band O'Sunshine played, in Texas and Oklahoma Doc Ross and His Jazz Bandids; Jimmy Gunn's band operated from Charlotte (North Carolina) . In Memphis , Slim Lamar and His Southerners and Mart Britt's band played ; Oklahoma was the center of the Blue Devils, the band of the later Basie bassist Walter Page . Besides Rushing, Basie himself, Lester Young , Buster Smith and Hot Lips Page came from his band . From Chicago, Al Katz and his Kittens toured as a novelty band .


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