The Swing Era was the high water mark for jazz as America's popular music. Clarinetist Benny Goodman kicked off the craze in 1935 with a style that built on the innovations of Louis Armstrong's "Hot" jazz, the exuberance of the great Chicago dance bands of the 1920s, and the rich orchestrations of Fletcher Henderson. Other ensembles quickly latched on to the sound, following him up the charts and into movies and radio shows. Big bands led by Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, and Harry James mixed repetitive horn riffs with catchy melodies and free-flowing solos; while couples danced to the band, others stood and listened to their favorite star musicians. Small groups also flourished during the era: the Nat Cole trio explored the Swing idiom with only piano, guitar, and bass, while Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt turned jazz guitar -- previously used for rhythmic support -- into a featured solo instrument. High wartime taxes on dance bands hurt the large ensembles in the mid- '40s, but the music stayed in the public's ears during the '50s thanks to former Big Band vocalists such as Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra. Today, the music is receiving a popular renaissance as a new set of kids discovers the thrill of Swing.