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The swing revival, also called retro swing and neo-swing, was a renewed interest in swing music, beginning in the 1990s. The music was rooted in the big bands of the swing era of the 1930s and 1940s, but it was also influenced by rockabilly, boogie-woogie piano, the jump blues of Louis Prima, and the theatrics of Cab Calloway.
|Cultural origins||1990s–2000s (decade), United States|
In 1989, three swing revival bands formed: Royal Crown Revue, the George Gee Orchestra, and Lavay Smith's Red Hot Skillet Lickers. After two years of performing in their home of Los Angeles, Royal Crown Revue toured the U.S. and attracted attention. They were followed by the formation of more swing bands: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Cherry Poppin' Daddies, and the Erik Ekstrand Ensemble. When the Derby nightclub opened in 1993, it offered free dance lessons and hosted many retro swing bands. The Derby was the first club in Los Angeles where there was dancing and swing music every night. It followed the lead of Club Deluxe, which opened in San Francisco in 1989.
Retro swing appeared in pop culture when the movie Swing Kids (1993) was released. One year later, Royal Crown Revue performed in The Mask. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy performed in Swingers (1996), with scenes filmed at The Derby and other clubs in Los Angeles, and at the Super Bowl halftime show in 1999.
Brian Setzer helped revive rockabilly during the 1980s as the leader of the Stray Cats. In the 1990s he helped revive swing by drawing large audiences as the leader of The Brian Setzer Orchestra, a big band that was formed in 1992 and influenced by rock, rockabilly, and the jump blues of Louis Prima. The band had a hit with "Jump, Jive an' Wail", which was a hit for Prima in the 1950s. Setzer's version won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. His album The Dirty Boogie was nominated for Best Pop Album. Hot by the Squirrel Nut Zippers was certified platinum by the RIAA for selling one million albums. In 1998 three retro swing bands were in the Top 50 at Billboard magazine: Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and the Brian Setzer Orchestra.
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