New York: Birthplace of Swing

SAVOY

Plaque marking the site of the Savoy BallroomHere once stood the legendary Savoy Ballroom, a hothouse for the development of jazz in the Swing Era. Visually dazzling and spacious, the Savoy nightly featured the finest jazz bands in the nation, and its house bands included such famous orchestras as those of Fess Williams, Chick Webb and Teddy Hill. The great jazz dancers who appeared on its block-long floor ranged from professionals like Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers to every day Harlemites. During a time of racial segregation and strife, the Savoy was one of the most culturally and racially integrated of institutions, and its fame was international. It was the heartbeat of Harlem’s community and a testament to the indomitable spirit and creative impulse of African-Americans. It was a catalyst for innovation where dancers and musicians blended influences to forge new wide-spread and long-lasting traditions in music and dance. Whether they attended or not, all Americans knew the meaning of “Stompin’ at the Savoy.”

HOME OF HAPPY FEET
1926-1958

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