The Southside Stomp kicks off by celebrating the historic 1938 “Battle of Swing!

The Southside Stomp! presents it’s inaugural dance on Saturday, January 15th.

Battle of the Bands

What better way to open our new monthly dance than to pay homage to a historic night in swing history that happened almost exactly 72 years ago.

On January 16, 1938, just as Benny Goodman was wrapping up his famous Carnegie Hall concert, swing fans and dancers were racing uptown to catch an epic Swing event in New York’s Savoy Ballroom: the “Battle of the Bands”  featuring the bandleaders, Chick Webb (with vocalist Ella Fitzgerald) and Count Basie (with vocalist Billie Holiday), playing head to head with the dancers deciding the winner.

What distinguished the two bands from one another was opposing sounds: Webb’s band was described as a “sensational whirlwind barrage,” that played at “breakneck tempos” and “novelty effects”; additionally Webb himself was a powerhouse behind the drums despite his limitations and short stature.  Drumming legend Buddy Rich cites Webb’s powerful technique and virtuoso performances as heavily influential on his own drumming, and even referred to Webb as “the daddy of them all. The Basie Band’s swing, on the other hand, was more moderate and blues-oriented leading one spectator to describe the tone of the concert  as “solid swing versus sensational swing.”

While fans of each band were quick to declare their favorites the winner most declared it a draw.  You can read more about the famous contest here:

For a fascinating video about the later Chick webb vs. Benny Goodman Battle of the Bands follow this link here.


One Response to “The Southside Stomp kicks off by celebrating the historic 1938 “Battle of Swing!”

  1. In case you missed the link in the story about you can check out a video about Chick Webb’s battle with Benny Goodman here:

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