The people interviewed in this book are leading Swing musicans. They may not be well-known to the neo-swingsters, or those whose idea of swing is big band white swing groups that were essentially pop oriented parasites on Black music, nor are post swing proto rock and rollers misidentified with Swing like Louis Jordan or Louis Prima featured.
However, if you interested in serious swing musicians who were at the center of the jazz swing music, African American pioneers, and jazz oriented white musicians this is your book.
Dance is a great interviewer here and in his other world of books. He gets behind the common places to points that MUSICIANS really want to know about the player's experience.
An example is the interview he did with Elmer Snowden in which a dying Snowden allows him to use his secret that he used guitar strings on his banjo is precisely for those of us who recognize Snowden as a major Jazz banjoist, a major band leader, a senior stateman of Jazz, even though he may remain unknown among white yuppie swing wannabes (or has another fad captivated these know-nothings?).
Dance also interviews enough of the great arrangers--a group neglected by everyone except musicians and serious swing fans--that we get a pictures of their contributions.
This book is not narrow. There are lots of connections from the Swing world of the 30s and 40s back to earlier forms of Jazz and forward to bop, R & B, and even rock and roll here.
My favorite part of the book is where he takes a poll of all his interviewees. My favorite part is where the musicians are asked what they would do if they were not musician. We see a bunch of interesting alternatives that help you gauge the personality and background with their alternatives. My favorite is the player--I will let you discover who he is--who says "I would rather be dead" than not play music! I've used that as a watchword not only for music but for the better things in life morally, artistically, and every other way.