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August 11, 2008

hot and anxious

Posted by dogpossum on August 11, 2008 10:09 PM in the category music

While it might perhaps be the most recognisable song of the 'swing era', I don't like 'In the Mood'. Glen Miller can go screw himself. I know that he had some action going on, but I'm adamant. In fact, I'm standing by my line, and not liking his version of that song. I don't like dancing to it, and I don't particularly like listening to it. No, no, I don't.

I do, however, very much like There's Rhythm in Harlem by the Mills Blue Rhythm Band (1935). That online version there, though, unfortunately doesn't feature the very recognisable In the Mood melody line.
I also have a song called Hot and Anxious (1932) by Don Redman (who wrote stuff for the McKinney's Cotton Pickers - that's him to the left there), which also pwns the Miller version. Having said that, I'm not entirely sure they're different songs... or different versions.

... wait, let me get my learn on.

Gunther Schuller tells me that Hot and Anxious was arranged by Horace Henderson for Don Redman (and his orchestra) in 1932. He also writes that In the Mood...

...has an interesting history. A riff tune, built on blues changes, it was composed by the black reed instrumentalist and arranger Joe Garland. But as is so often the case in riff pieces, it was based on a motif that had kicked around a long time and was simply assembled, notated, and put by Garland in a specific copyrightable form. It appears that the trumpeter Wingy Manone first used the basic In The Mood lick from 1930 on a Chicago-style recording called Tar Paper Stomp. He recorded it again, rechristened as Jumpy Nerves, in 1939, just four months before Miller's In The Mood recording. But by that time Joe Garland had picked the riff up and had used it in his 1935 composition and arrangement of There's Rhythm in Harlem for the Mills Blue Rhythm Band. But long before that (March 1931) Horace Henderson had incorporated the riff as the second strain in his Hot and Anxious, recorded by both his brother Fletcher's band and Don Redman's.

Joe Garland took his 1935 arrangement with him when he left the Blue Rhythm Band along with Edgar Hayes, and recorded it as In The Mood for Hayes in early 1938. Next he offered it to Artie Shaw, who played but never recorded it, on the one hand thinking the simplistic riff a little beneath his own musical ambitions and on the other hand finding Garland's arrangement too long to fit on a ten-inch disc.

When Garland offered In the Mood to Miller, who was undoubtedly looking for strong new numbers for his Glen Island Casino booking, Miller grabbed the piece. With the precise skills of a first-rate surgeon Miller trimmed Garland's arrangement down to essentials, retaining the two initial strains, building in two solo sections (a saxophone exchange between Beneke and Klink, and a Hurley 16-bar trumpet solo over an Aflat pedal point) to the famous fade-away ending with its riff repeated three times at ever softer dynamic levels, then suddenly roaring in ff a fourth time for the final climax. ... [and here Schuller continues with an in-depth analysis of the score and recording]...

No official word has ever been offered as to how the arranger's credits are to read. Two things are clear, however, from the aural evidence itself... [and Schuller describes this evidence in detail]...

It is ironic but in the nature of the popular music business, that Miller became a millionaire on In The Mood alone, unlike his three arranger helpmates - [Joe] Garland, [Eddie] Durham [once trombonist with Jimmie Lunceford's band], and [Chummy] MacGregor [Miller's pianist] - who did not share in the financial rewards. Durham reputedly received all of five dollars for his contribution. (The Swing Era, Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1989: 674-675).


I recommend Schuller's histories of jazz. The Swing Era is awesome - it's a big, fat book, and you can pick it up on amazon for a tiny amount. I don't have Early Jazz, but it's on my wish list. While his analyses of each musician are complemented by some seriously in-depth analysis of the score, it's still accessible. And listening along is really fascinating - you learn an awful lot.

Posted by dogpossum on August 11, 2008 10:09 PM in the category music