The bylines of many writers who would one day emerge as the most-noted authorities on jazz first appeared in Down Beat as early as 1935. John Hammond appeared in June, calling Ray Noble's orchestra the "fizzle of the season." Helen Oakley, who worked as a producer for Irving Mills, wrote about Jack Teagarden. Marshall Stearns, president of the Yale Hot Club, praised Ellington. Leonard Feather, still living in London and appearing as "London correspondent" in October, wrote: "I was in New York for the first time last month and came away with the impression that, however dumb your great U.S. public may be, ours is even dumber." And Stanley Dance, another Londoner, received his first American byline in February 1936 when he took exception to a point in Stearns' article that suggested Ellington's "wah-wah" trumpets were old-fashioned.
The swing era was beginning. To the hip, the world was divided into us and them, meaning those who liked jazz and knew what was good, and everyone else. "An elect minority do really know what this jazz is all about," Feather wrote with the smug sense of superiority one feels when one is among the "elect" and everyone else is in the dark. Down Beat had both feet planted in the future.
The Woods Theater office was promptly shut down in the winter of 1935, and by June of that year Down Beat was set up at 608 South Dearborn Street. In the mid thirties it was a wonderful place for an entertainment magazine. A block away was the Dearborn Street Station at Polk Street, a rail crossroads of the continent where a reporter could easily catch celebrities for interviews as they killed time between the Santa Fe Super Chief and the Twentieth Century Limited.
Late in 1936, Burrs, who ran the business side of things, decided to take on a full-time advertising manager. Down Beat's new location along the south Loop was only a few blocks from Lyon & Healy on Wabash, one of the largest music retailers in the country and a meeting place for local musicians. Among them was a 24-year-old trumpet player named Tom Herrick, who held down a day job at Shaw-Walker selling office equipment and jobbed in various groups on weekends. On Friday afternoons he would often take a long lunch and sit in at the Lyon & Healy jam sessions, usually held in the guitar department. Les Paul was among the regulars. Another was Sharon Pease, a Down Beat writer who specialized in piano. He was the one who brought Herrick into the Down Beat orbit, when he asked him to write a promotional piece called "The Book of Licks." Soon after, Burrs offered Herrick the ad manager's job for about $21.50 a week.