Duke Ellington Orchestra

Mainstream jazz is a term coined in the 1950s by music journalist Stanley Dance, who considered anything within the popular jazz of the Swing Era "mainstream",[1] and did not include the bebop style.

Jazz in the mainstream

After Dance defined mainstream jazz in the 1950s, the definition changed with the evolution and progression of jazz music. What was mainstream then would not be considered mainstream now. In a general sense, mainstream jazz can be considered what was most popular at the time: For example, during the Swing era, swing and big band music were in their prime and what target audiences were looking for. Although bebop was introduced into jazz during that time, audiences had not developed an ear for it.[1]

Mainstream jazz musicians

The jazz musicians listed below were either considered "mainstream" musicians, or were influenced by mainstream musicians.

Swing era

Mainstream jazz in popular culture

In the 1950s and 1960s, jazz was a mainstream part of pop culture. Jazz music was on the radio and Hollywood frequently incorporated jazz in television and films.[6]


  1. ^ a b McRae, Barry. 2005. "Sound Investment: Mainstream." Jazz Journal International, Aug 1, 10.
  2. ^ Dance, Stanley. 1970. Theœ World of Duke Ellington. New York: Scribner.
  3. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Coleman Hawkins". All Music. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  4. ^ Tumpak, John R. (2011). "Johnny Hodges: Sensual Musical Beauty". Memory Lane (172): 41–42.
  5. ^ Schuller, Gunther (11 December 2017). "Eldridge, (David) Roy ['Little Jazz']". Oxford Music Online.
  6. ^ Stanbridge, Alan (2008-05-01). "From the Margins to the Mainstream: Jazz, Social Relations, and Discourses of Value". Critical Studies in Improvisation. 4 (1). doi:10.21083/csieci.v4i1.361. ISSN 1712-0624.