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February 27, 2007

Mora's Modern Swingtet's 20th Century Closet

Posted by dogpossum on February 27, 2007 7:58 PM in the category digging and djing and music

Mora's Modern Swinget's 20th Century Closet.

A contemporary band who specialise in the sort of music I like most (earlier swinging jazz and 20s hot jazz), the Swingtet are a smaller version of the Rhythmists (they could be a completely different band that Mora runs, I haven't checked - I have Dumb Brain right now). I was happy with the Rhythmists' Call of the Freaks and have my eye on their latest album
This is fun stuff because the quality's good, the songs are really neat (some of my favourites) and this sort of action is a great introduction to old school music for the more conservative/groover dancing crowd.

It's nice to have a few songs by my favourite artists - I'll list them below - my favourite small group artists:

The album contains 20 tracks of great swing of the 1930s and 1940s, originally performed by such bands as the John Kirby Orchestra, Artie Shaw's Gramercy Five, Tommy Dorsey's Clambake Seven, and the Duke Ellington small groups
And you know how I feel about Ellington. But I'm also a keen fan of John Kirby. I like that smaller, 'chamber jazz' sound. Maybe I need to explore Tommy Dorsey's smaller groups?

Song highlights:
Hop, Skip and Jump - 191bpm - 2004 - 2:44
It's interesting to compare this with the Campus Five version (which I talked about here). I might prefer the Campus 5 version, but I haven't listened to them back to back yet, so I can't be sure.

Krum Elbow Blues - 162bpm - 2004 - 2:45
I love the Ellington version of this song that I have ('Krum Elbow Blues' - Johnny Hodges and His Orchestra - 153bpm - 1938 - The Duke's Men: The Small Groups, vol. 2 - 2:35), and I don't have Mora's liner notes in front of me, but he could have used that arrangement (that's actually a big fat guess). It's still a great song, and this is a decent version.

Effervescent Blues - 122bpm - 2004 - 3:07
Another 'cover' of one of my favourite songs ('Effervescent Blues' - John Kirby Sextet - 119bpm - 1939 - John Kirby Sextet: Complete Columbia and RCA Victor Recordings (disc 01) - 2:50), I do prefer Kirby's version, but the quality of that version that I have is a bit dodgy. Not really up to places like CBD at all.

Jump Steady - 172bpm - 2004 - 2:39
I don't have the liner notes in front of me, nor do I have another version of this in my itunes, so I'm not sure who the original's by. But this is fun.

There are many other great tracks, but these are the ones at the front of my brain right now.

I do have some complaints about this album, though. I'm not struck on the vocalist, Kayre Morrison. She's a bit... hoity toity. This band, all over, is a bit... uptight. Unhep.
I prefer the Willie Bryant versions of Rigamarole and A Viper's Moan, for example, because they sound rawer, wilder and more emotionally authentic. The problem with some of these recreationist guys, is that they spend so much energy and effort on doing really careful reproductions of other artists' work, they forget to put themselves into the music. I've written about this before here, so I needn't say more than to repeat the last line of that post: "I like a little grunt, a little grit in my".

Posted by dogpossum on February 27, 2007 7:58 PM in the category digging and djing and music