Ward Swingle

Ward Swingle

American vocalist, jazzman
Date of Birth: 21.09.1927
Country: USA

Biography of Ward Swingle

Ward Swingle, an American vocalist and jazz musician, was born in 1927 in Mobile, Alabama, USA. From a young age, he was passionate about music, particularly jazz, and started playing in jazz bands before completing his schooling. He then studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music before moving to France to further develop his piano skills.

Ward Swingle

In the 1960s, Swingle became one of the founding members of the renowned group "Les Double Six." It was during this time that he discovered the music of Bach, which he began improvising in jazz. Inspired by this "jazz Bach," Swingle formed his own vocal group called "The Swingle Singers" in the early 1960s. The ensemble consisted of eight musicians, and their repertoire was known as "swinging classics." They skillfully arranged Baroque music, such as fugues, madrigals, and orchestral overtures, into swinging choral compositions. Starting with Bach's greatest hits, they later performed works by various classical composers, and their unique interpretations earned them a Grammy award.

Ward Swingle

During the 1960s, "The Swingle Singers" released albums like "Anyone for Mozart?", "Rococo À Go Go," "Spanish Masters," and "Back to Bach," among others. In 1973, Swingle disbanded the group, marking the end of their "French" phase. However, he soon moved to London, England, where he formed a new ensemble of eight performers and continued to sing classical music in jazz arrangements. Swingle introduced a unique technique in which microphones were placed closer to the sound source, producing an unexpected and soulful sound effect.

Ward Swingle

Swingle's group released numerous albums, including "Lovin' You: Words and Music," "Pieces of Eight," "Rags and All that Jazz," and "No Time to Talk." To his surprise, the success of his ensemble attracted great entertainers who competed for the opportunity to sing in his band.

In 1984, Ward Swingle returned to America but remained an advisor to his group. He then devoted much of his time to seminars and publications in Europe and North America. In 1994, Swingle and his wife moved to France, where he published his autobiography titled "Swingle Singing," providing detailed insights into the technical aspects of his successful ensemble.

In February 2004, Ward Swingle was honored as an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture. Today, he affectionately refers to the current lineup of "The Swingle Singers" as his "grandchildren," and his musicians continue to play traditional Bach and other classical pieces in their original swinging style.

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