So there was (yet another) fuck up at MLX, and I had to quickly fill in a bit of set time in the back room to cope with some overflow. Basically, what was going to become the blues room had to become a lindy hop room until the main room was ready. The DJ rostered on didn’t have and never had DJed lindy hop. I only had my (new, and first ever) iphone to hand. And I’ve never DJed from my phone. And I had no idea what sort of music was on there.
So I sat down, just randomly selected a song that was on the first playlist I found (my current favourite version of ‘Ain’t Misbehavin”), and did some sound testing. One minute later, the room was crowded with impatient dancers. I was all ‘I got no clue here’. Inspiration struck: “Hello! This is the first and only time I will ever take requests, so what have you got?” People who know me were thunderstruck. I never take requests. Ever. But then the requests came thick and fast. I used the mic to introduce each song, and to point out who’d requested it, so the dancers’d know who to blame.
‘Greatest there is’. Not a song for everyone, but a song I love.
No one could come up with another song after that, so I just slotted in my current favourite Armstrong song, ‘Snafu’, because I thought its unusual style would suit the weirdness of that late Ellington song.
After every song I’d announce over the mic: “Hello! I am taking requests. So bring em. First and last time I’ll do this.”
“A good medium tempo warm up song by a big band!”
B-sharp Boston again.
“ummm” *sings incoherent melody*
(into the mic) “You will need to do more than sing the melody – I need a name, peeps.” So I chose for her.
‘Goin’ Out the Back Way’ because Ellington is my go-to man, and the sound gear in that room is so good I can play everything on it.
“A slower modern song with a female singer so I can dance slow”
LOVE Cecile McLorin Salvant. At least three people came up to ask who this was. It’s just a wonderful song.
(I briefly reconsider offer to take requests. Then realise…) “Sorry, don’t have it. Anything else?”
“Have it.” (into mic) “This one’s a request, but I don’t know what it’s like, so if it’s rubbish, I’ll mute it and we’ll skip to the next song.
Summertime. Pretty good, uptempo version that I wasn’t too familiar with, but turned out to be great for lindy hopping, actually. Bet he was disappointed, as he’s a solid blues dancer.
“Good request, that guy. What’s next?”
“You heard three different versions last night, and the band played it in the evening gig tonight.”
“I WANT IT!”
LCJO. Room goes nuts with glee.
“For real? It’s pretty mellow, and everyone’s pumping.”
Room gets its supergroove on. Main room opens. This room empties, and a blues DJ takes over.
It was mega fun.
Ain’t Misbehavin’ Frankie Trumbauer and his Orchestra (Ed Wade, Charlie Teagarden, Jack Teagarden, Artie Shaw, Jack Cordaro, Mutt Hayes, Roy Bargy, Carl Kress, Artie Miller, Stan King) 131 1936 The Complete Okeh and Brunswick Bix Beiderbecke, Frank Trumbauer and Jack Teagarden Sessions (1924-1936) (Mosaic disc 07) 3:22
The Greatest There Is Duke Ellington and his Orchestra 133 1949 Duke Ellington and his Orchestra: 1949-1950 2:44
Snafu Esquire All-American Award Winners (Louis Armstrong, Neal Hefti, Jimmy Hamilton, Johnny Hodges, Don Byas, Billy Strayhorn, Remo Palmieri, Chubby Jackson, Sonny Greer) 144 1946 The Complete RCA Victor Recordings (disc 03) 4:14
B-Sharp Boston Duke Ellington and his Orchestra 126 1949 Duke Ellington and his Orchestra: 1949-1950 2:55
The Goon Drag (Gone Wid De Goon) Sam Price and his Texas Blusicians 138 1941 Sam Price 1929-1941 3:19
Goin’ Out The Back Way Johnny Hodges and his Orchestra (Ray Nance, Lawrence Brown, Harry Carney, Duke Ellington, Jimmy Blanton, Sonny Greer) 155 1941 The Duke Ellington Centennial Edition: Complete RCA Victor Recordings (disc 12) 2:44
Anything Goes Cecile Mclorin Salvant and the Jean-Francois Bonnel Paris Quintet 117 2010 Cecile 4:46
Summertime Hep Chaps 137 2009 Swingin’ On Nothing 4:02
C-Jam Blues Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis 143 1999 Live In Swing City: Swingin’ With Duke 3:34
Bag’s Groove Swing Session (Levon, Jean-Loup Muller, Manu Hagmann, Julien Cotting, Rene Hagman) 120 2006 Leapfrog 4:58