Is Electro Swing still Swing?

This is probably rather a question for Lindy Hop (or Charleston) dancer than for the Jazz music listener. Which raises the question why I am writing about it?
Well, while investigating the origins of Swing, and therefore listening to a lot of classic Swing music, I was also looking for contemporary Swing records. This is how I came across Electro Swing.

This relatively new sub-genre has achieved quite some popularity in the last few years, with electro swing clubs opening and dance events happening all over the world.

Contrarily to the Swing, which emerged in the 1930ies in the US, this one was born rather in Europe, mainly in Paris, London and Amsterdam. Towards the end of the last millennium first formations like Jurassic 5, Yello or Doop attracted attention with their interpretations of classic jazz and swing themes from the 20’s till the 50’s. The style which blends aspects of classic jazz music with electronic beats was named “Electro Swing”, “Swing House”, “Neo-Charleston” or “Boom Swing” (I am sure there are more names still).
By the end of the “00s” there were artists completely dedicated to this style of music, such as Caravan Palace, Caro Emerald and Parov Stelar. These are probably the the most known Electro Swing artists, but obviously there are many more. Two of my favourite bands are “Klischee” and “Movits”, although the latter one is already quite far from Electro Swing.

If you like besides your Jazz also electronic music, it is certainly worth checking out some of the above artists. The music will make your feet move and is great party stuff.
Some might find it boring as unfortunately often there is mainly a constant beat with little melody. On top of that most songs seem to have roughly the same beats per minute with little variation of the tempo.

It is interesting that this revival of Swing music takes place in similar circumstances as the original Swing boom. There is a Great Depression and people want to escape the difficult times in dance clubs. There is a great quote from Nick Hollywood (producer and label owner) on Electro Swing – β€œit is the music of the first Great Depression mixed with the technology of the second.”


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