Beginning in the early 1930s jazz reached its most popular era – the Swing Era. Swing differed from Dixieland in several ways. The most obvious difference is the number of musicians performing. While Dixieland bands were small combos consisting of about six to eight musicians, a swing era big band usually had four trumpets, three or four trombones, four or five saxophones, piano, bass, drums, and sometimes a guitar. As with Dixieland, dancing was the primary focus of the music. Another difference in the two styles lies with in the method of performance. In the Swing Era, the majority of the music was arranged previous to the performance, due to the larger nature of the band. A Dixieland ensemble would improvise much if not all of their performance.
Trombonists enjoyed a prominent role in the jazz ensemble of the swing era. Not only was the trombone often featured as a soloist, but many trombonists formed their own bands and built careers on not only their leadership but also their soloistic prowess.