Category Archives: 8 tracks

Imitation and Innovation 8tracks

This is a post that continues my thinking from that previous post about Basie and Jazz BANG, but here I work specifically with Count Basie and his influences. This post is a product of some discussion on facebook about Basie (and my previous 8tracks post), and really has grown out of this Basie session at Jazz BANG. It does of course, also develop the theme of innovation, improvisation and impersonation – step stealing and cultural appropriation/transmission in vernacular music and dance culture. And we all know how obsessed I am with THAT stuff. Love love love.

This post is shaped by some useful comments and references supplied by Andrew Dickeson on the Facey, in response to my 8tracks post, and more specifically, to my question about Fletcher Henderson’s influence on Basie and other musicians.

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I’ve written about this version of Honeysuckle Rose many times before (here and here), I find myself using various versions of this song for teaching all the time, and I DJ with it a lot. I am very obsessed. I’m also fascinated by Fletcher Henderson, and the way he went from big name arranger and band leader to ‘joining’ Benny Goodman’s band. His life (which was somewhat tragic), and the role John Hammond played, really catch my interest. Also he had fucking MAD skills.

So here is an excerpt from a useful book Andrew hooked me up with, and an 8track set I put together to illustrate this section:

[quote]
The early Basie book was casual and frequently borrowed, either in bits and pieces or, sometimes, whole. The ultimate sources was often Fletcher Henderson’s orchestra. Basie’s arrangement of Honeysuckle Rose is a slight simplification of Henderson’s. Basie’s Swinging the Blues comes from Henderson’s Hot and Anxious and Comin’ and Goin’*. Jumpin’ at the Woodside (as Dan Morgenstern points out) comes from the Mills Blue Rhythm Band’s Jammin’ for the Jackpot, with perhaps a glance at the arrangement of Honeysuckle Rose that Benny Carter did for Coleman Hawkins and Django Reinhardt. Jive at Five from the same ensemble’s Barrelhouse. The Mills’ Blue Rhythm Band was a Henderson-style orchestra.

*A more complete history of this piece is interesting and revealing. The 1929 Ellington-Miley Doin’ the Voom Voom, in AABA song form (an obvious Cotton Club specialty), became the 1931 Horace Henderson-Fletcher Henderson pair of pieces called Hot and Anxious (a blues) and Comin’ and Goin’ (partly a blues). those pieces all added the riff later called In The Mood. These, in turn, became Count Basie’s Swinging The Blues. Meanwhile, Doin’ The Voom Voom had obviously inspired the Lunceford-Will Hudson specialties White Heat and Jazznocracy, and these in turn prompted the Harry James-Benny Goodman Life Goes to a Party. In the last piece, the background figure (an up-and-down scalar motive) to one of the trumpet solos on Voom Voom had been slightly changed and elevated into a main theme.

[/quote]

(Williams, Martin. The Jazz Tradition, 1992. p117-118.)

8tracks linky

Imitation and Improvisation from dogpossum on 8tracks Radio.

Honeysuckle Rose 1937 Count Basie and his Orchestra (Buck Clayton, Joe Keyes, Carl Smith, George Hunt, Dan Minor, Caughley Roberts, Herschel Evans, Lester Young, Jack Washington, Claude Williams, Walter Page, Jo Jones) 3:00 The Complete Decca Recordings (disc 01)

Honeysuckle Rose 1939 Benny Goodman and his Orchestra (Jimmy Maxwell, Johnny Martel, Ziggy Elman, Ted Vesely, Red Ballard, Vernon Brown, Toots Mondello, Buff Estes, Jerry Jerome, Bus Bassey, Fletcher Henderson, Charlie Christian, Artie Bernstein, Nick Fatool) 3:04 Classic Columbia and Okeh Benny Goodman Orchestra Sessions (1939-1958) (Mosaic disc 01)

Swingin’ The Blues 1938 Count Basie and his Orchestra 2:48 The Complete Decca Recordings (disc 02)

Hot And Anxious 1931 Fletcher Henderson and his Orchestra (Rex Stewart, Russell Smith, Bobby Stark, Claude Jones, Benny Morton, Russell Procope, Harvey Boone, Coleman Hawkins, Clarence Holiday, John Kirby, Walter Johnson, Bill Challis, Don Redman, Horace Henderson) 3:25 Classic Coleman Hawkins Sessions 1922-1947 (Mosaic disc 02)

Comin’ And Goin’ 1931 Baltimore Bellhops (Fletcher Henderson, Rex Stewart, Benny Carter, Coleman Hawkins, John Kirby) 3:12 The Fletcher Henderson Story (disc 02)

Doin’ The Voom Voom – Take 1 1929 Duke Ellington and his Orchestra 3:08 The Duke Ellington Centennial Edition: Complete RCA Victor Recordings (disc 02)

White Heat 1939 Jimmie Lunceford 2:31 Rhythm Is Our Business

Life Goes To A Party 1938 Harry James and his Orchestra (Buck Clayton, Vernon Brown, Earl Warren, Jack Washington, Jess Stacy, Walter Page, Jo Jones) 2:52 Life Goes To A Party

Life Goes To A Party 1938 Benny Goodman and his Orchestra (Harry James, Ziggy Elman, Chris Griffin, Red Ballard, Vernon Brown, Hymie Schertzer, George Koenig, Art Rollini, Babe Russin, Jess Stacy, Allen Reuss, Harry Goodman, Gene Krupa, Horace Henderson, Edgar Sampson) 4:17 Benny Goodman Live At Carnegie Hall (disc 1)

Jumpin’ At The Woodside 1939 Count Basie and his Orchestra 3:10 The Complete Decca Recordings (disc 02)

Jammin’ For The Jackpot 1937 Mills Blue Rhythm Band (Charlie Shavers, Carl Warwick, Harry Edison, Al Cobbs, Wilbur DeParis, Tab Smith, Eddie Williams, Ben Williams, Harold Arnold, Billy Kyle, Danny Barker, John Williams, Lester Sonny Nichols, Chuck Richards, Lucky Millinder) 2:30 Mills Blue Rhythm Band: Complete Jazz Series 1936 – 1937

Honeysuckle Rose 1937 Coleman Hawkins and his All-Star Jam Band (Benny Carter, Andre Ekyan, Alix Combelle, Stéphane Grappelli, Django Reinhardt, Eugene d’Hellemmes, Tommy Benford) 2:47 Ken Burns Jazz Series: Coleman Hawkins

Jive At Five 1939 Count Basie and his Orchestra 2:51 The Complete Decca Recordings (disc 03)

Barrelhouse 1936 Mills Blue Rhythm Band (Lucky Millinder, Henry ‘Red’ Allen) 3:05 Mills Blue Rhythm Band: Harlem Heat

Jumpy Nerves 1939 Wingy Manone and his Orchestra (Chu Berry, Buster Bailey, Conrad Lanoue, Zeb Julian, Jules Cassard, Cozy Cole) 2:53 Classic Chu Berry Columbia And Victor Sessions (Mosaic disc 05)

In The Mood Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys 3:19 The Tiffany Transcriptions (vol 9)

Avant Garden 8tracks

Some songs I like at the moment, many of which are a little odd, structurally or melodically.

Avant Garden from dogpossum on 8tracks Radio.

linky

Photo from Shorpy.
Watch for the Slam Stewart incidences.

Snafu 1946 Esquire All-American Award Winners (Louis Armstrong, Neal Hefti, Jimmy Hamilton, Johnny Hodges, Don Byas, Billy Strayhorn, Remo Palmieri, Chubby Jackson, Sonny Greer) 4:14 The Complete RCA Victor Recordings (disc 03)

“C” Blues 1941 Barney Bigard and his Jazzopators (Ray Nance, Juan Tizol, Ben Webster, Harry Carney, Duke Ellington, Jimmy Blanton, Sonny Greer) 2:53 The Duke Ellington Centennial Edition: Complete RCA Victor Recordings (disc 12)

Honeysuckle Rose 1937 Count Basie and his Orchestra (Buck Clayton, Joe Keyes, Carl Smith, George Hunt, Dan Minor, Caughley Roberts, Herschel Evans, Lester Young, Jack Washington, Claude Williams, Walter Page, Jo Jones) 3:00 The Complete Decca Recordings (disc 01)

Honeysuckle Rose 1939 Benny Goodman and his Orchestra (Jimmy Maxwell, Johnny Martel, Ziggy Elman, Ted Vesely, Red Ballard, Vernon Brown, Toots Mondello, Buff Estes, Jerry Jerome, Bus Bassey, Fletcher Henderson, Charlie Christian, Artie Bernstein, Nick Fatool) 3:04 Classic Columbia and Okeh Benny Goodman Orchestra Sessions (1939-1958) (Mosaic disc 01)

Jack, I’m Mellow 1938 Trixie Smith acc. By Charlie Shavers, Sidney Bechet, Sammy Price, Teddy Bunn, Richard Fullbright, O’Neil Spencer 2:49 Charlie Shavers and The Blues Singers 1938-1939

Honeysuckle Rose 1935 Mildred Bailey and Her Alley Cats (Bunny Berigan, Johnny Hodges, Teddy Wilson, Grachan Moncur) 2:57 Mildred Bailey: A Forgotten Lady 1935-42, Jazz Archives #90 (158602)

Don’t Tetch It! 1942 Una Mae Carlisle with Charlie Shavers, Buster Bailey, Russell Procope, Billy Kyle, John Kirby, O’Neil Spencer 2:21 Una Mae Carlisle: Complete Jazz Series 1941 – 1944

Flying Home 1944 Teddy Wilson Sextet (Emmett Berry, Benny Morton, Edmond Hall, Slam Stewart, Big Sid Catlett) 4:56 Teddy Wilson: The Complete Associated Transcriptions 1944

Deep Forest 1940 Earl Hines and his Orchestra (Walter Fuller, Milton Fletcher, Ed Sims, George Dixon, John Ewing, Ed Burke, Joe McLewis, Omer Simeon, Leroy Harris, Bob Crowder, Jimmy Mundy, Claude Roberts, Quinn Wilson, Alvin Burroughs, Billy Eckstine, Budd Johnson) 2:31 Classic Earl Hines Sessions 1928-1945 (Mosaic disc 05)

Take It 1941 Benny Goodman and his Orchestra (Jimmy Maxwell, Irving Goodman, Alec Fila, Cootie Williams, Lou McGarity, Cutty Cutshall, Gus Bivona, Les Robinson, Georgie Auld, Pete Mondello, Bob Snyder, Johnny Guarnieri, Mike Bryan, Artie Bernstein, Dave Tough) 3:13 Classic Columbia and Okeh Benny Goodman Orchestra Sessions (1939-1958) (Mosaic disc 03)

Gotta Be This Or That (Pt. 1) (Alt Tk-2) 1945 Benny Goodman and his Orchestra (Vince Badale, Al Cuozzo, Tony Faso, Stan Fishelson, Trummy Young, Eddie Aulino, Chauncey Welsch, Ray Beller, Aaron Sachs, Stan Kosow, Al Epstein, Danny Bank, Charlie Queener, Mike Bryan, Slam Stewart, Morey Feld, Red Norvo 3:30 Classic Columbia and Okeh Benny Goodman Orchestra Sessions (1939-1958) (Mosaic disc 06)

Sweet Lorraine 1946 Metronome All Star Band (Charlie Shavers, Lawrence Brown, Johnny Hodges, Coleman Hawkins, Harry Carney, Nat ‘King’ Cole, Bob Ahern, Eddie Safranksi, Buddy Rich, Frank Sinatra, June Christy, Sy Oliver) 3:13 Classic Coleman Hawkins Sessions 1922-1947 (Mosaic disc 08)

Hot Foot Stomp 2

HotFootStomp2-flyer-square-sepia

Hot Foot Stomp 2 from dogpossum on 8tracks Radio.

A couple of friends and I are running the second Hot Foot Stomp dance in a week or so, and I’m having a look at some music I might play. We’re going for more a rent party sort of vibe, as we’re using a studio space which is in an (tall, skinny) old warehouse.

title artist bpm year album length

The Harlem Stride Ella Fitzgerald and her Famous Orchestra 199 1939 Live At The Savoy – 1939-40 3:29

Whoa Babe Casa Loma Orchestra 199 Boneyard Shuffle 3:00

John Silver Jimmy Dorsey and his Orchestra 155 1938 Swingsation: Charlie Barnet and Jimmy Dorsey 3:15

It’s The Gold Buddy Johnson and his Orchestra with Ella Johnson 159 1941 Buddy Johnson: Complete Jazz Series 1939 – 1942 3:01

Come On Over To My House Jay McShann’s Kansas City Stompers (Julia Lee) 143 1944 Kansas City Star (disc 1) 2:54

Open The Door, Richard Count Basie and his Orchestra (Ed Lewis, Emmett Berry, Snooky Young, Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison, Ted Donnelly, George Matthews, Eli Robinson, Bill Johnson, Preston Love, Rudy Rutherford, Buddy Tate, Paul Gonsalves, Jack Washington, Freddie Green, Walter Page, 127 1947 Count Basie RCA Years In Complete (disc 01) 2:43

Free Eats Count Basie and his Orchestra (Ed Lewis, Emmett Berry, Snooky Young, Harry Edison, Ted Donnelly, George Matthews, Eli Robinson, Bill Johnson, Preston Love, Rudy Rutherford, Buddy Tate, Paul Gonsalves, Jack Washington, Freddie Green, Walter Page, Jo Jones) 163 1947 Count Basie RCA Years In Complete (disc 01) 2:56

A Touch Of Boogie Teddy Wilson and his Orchestra (Emmett Berry, Benny Morton, Jimmy Hamilton, Johnny Williams, J.C. Heard) 186 1941 Boogie Woogie And Blues Piano 3:12

Two O’Clock Jump Harry James and his Orchestra 192 1939 Life Goes To A Party 3:17

Bugle Call Rag Metronome All Star Band (Cootie Williams, Harry James, Ziggy Elman, Tommy Dorsey, J.C. Higginbotham, Benny Goodman, Benny Carter, Toots Mondello, Coleman Hawkins, Tex Beneke, Count Basie, Charlie Christian, Artie Bernstein, Buddy Rich) 262 1941 Classic Coleman Hawkins Sessions 1922-1947 (Mosaic disc 06) 3:17

Deep Forest Earl Hines and his Orchestra (Walter Fuller, Milton Fletcher, Ed Sims, George Dixon, John Ewing, Ed Burke, Joe McLewis, Omer Simeon, Leroy Harris, Bob Crowder, Jimmy Mundy, Claude Roberts, Quinn Wilson, Alvin Burroughs, Billy Eckstine, Budd Johnson) 140 1940 Classic Earl Hines Sessions 1928-1945 (Mosaic disc 05) 2:31

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

Sweet Lorraine Metronome All Star Band (Charlie Shavers, Lawrence Brown, Johnny Hodges, Coleman Hawkins, Harry Carney, Nat ‘King’ Cole, Bob Ahern, Eddie Safranksi, Buddy Rich, Frank Sinatra, June Christy, Sy Oliver) 127 1946 Classic Coleman Hawkins Sessions 1922-1947 (Mosaic disc 08) 3:13

8tracks: I took requests

I took requests from dogpossum on 8tracks Radio.

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.

“Ellington!”
“Done.”

‘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!”
“Got it”

B-sharp Boston again.

“Goo ster”
“What?”
“Goods drag?”
“Goon Drag?”
“Yes!”
“It’s on.”

“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”
“Righto”

LOVE Cecile McLorin Salvant. At least three people came up to ask who this was. It’s just a wonderful song.

“Sixteen tonnes”
(I briefly reconsider offer to take requests. Then realise…) “Sorry, don’t have it. Anything else?”
“Summertime!”
“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?”
“CJAM BLUES!”
“You heard three different versions last night, and the band played it in the evening gig tonight.”
“I WANT IT!”
“Righto.”

LCJO. Room goes nuts with glee.

“Bag’s Groove”
“For real? It’s pretty mellow, and everyone’s pumping.”
“Bag’s Groove!”
“ok.”

Room gets its supergroove on. Main room opens. This room empties, and a blues DJ takes over.

THE END.

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

8tracks: Little MLX late night set

Little MLX late night lindy hop from dogpossum on 8tracks Radio.

So, I DJed a few sets at MLX this past weekend. The second one was in the back room, which became a lindy hop room while the main room became a blues room with a live band. Yeah, don’t ask me about that. It is meant to be a lindy exchange, but heck, I just book the DJs.

Anyway, it meant that there was a smaller crowd at that late night, and the back room had a much smaller lindy hopping crowd than MLX usually sees. For me, it made for a really lovely DJing experience. I like the layout of the room, the sound is great, and it meant that I could do a more intimate, personal set than I’d do in a huge room full of lindy hoppers. I started at 1.30 or 2am or something, and the crowd was quite tired. The crowd was quite lovely – almost all the DJs were in there rocking out (which I took as a great compliment), the numbers fluctuated as the band did sets or had breaks, and the dancing experience and ability of the crowd really varied – from people who’ve been dancing one hundred years, to total noobs. It was actually fabulous to play for that group, and the reshuffle meant that no parts of the room had been staked out as ‘cats corner’ or any of that shit. Just a good old fashioned dance party.

Alice, who was on before me, played a really nice set. So I figured, heck, I’ll just play a bunch of songs I like. Love. No pressure to make people crazy. Just play good songs that I love. The last half hour is a bit shit, I reckon, because I was exhausted and kind of lost focus. I also changed it up a bit as the crowd really changed in that last part of the night.

Anyway, here it is:

title artist bpm year album song length

Turn It Over Bus Moten and his Men (Richard Smith, Ben Webster, Johnny Rodgers, Lloyd Anderson, Jesse Price) 148 1949 Kansas City Blues 1944-1949 (Disc 3) 2:38

Yacht Club Swing Fats Waller and his Rhythm (Herman Autrey, Gene Sedric, Al Casey, Cedric Wallace, Slick Jones) 177 1938 The Middle Years – Part 2 (1938-1940) (disc 01) 3:02

Central Time Pokey LaFarge 198 2013 Pokey LaFarge 3:00

You Got to Give Me Some Midnight Serenaders (David Evans, Dee Settlemier, Doug Sammons, Garner Pruitt, Henry Bogdan, Pete Lampe) 187 2007 Magnolia 4:02

You Hear Me Talkin’ To Ya Luke Winslow-King (Rich Levison, Cassidy Holden, Shaye Cohn) 142 2009 2:12

Jumpy Nerves Wingy Manone and his Orchestra (Chu Berry, Buster Bailey, Conrad Lanoue, Zeb Julian, Jules Cassard, Cozy Cole) 177 1939 Classic Chu Berry Columbia And Victor Sessions (Mosaic disc 05) 2:53

West End Blues Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five (Fred Robinson, Jimmy Strong, Earl Hines, Mancy Carr, Zutty Singleton) 85 1928 The Complete Hot Five And Hot Seven Recordings [Disc 4] 3:22

Wild Man Blues Johnny Dodds and his Chicago Boys (Charlie Shavers, Lil Armstrong, Teddy Bunn, John Kirby, O’Neil Spencer) 174 1938 The Myth Of New Orleans 3:11

Stompin’ At The Savoy Jimmy Dorsey and his Orchestra 162 1936 Swingsation: Charlie Barnet and Jimmy Dorsey 3:12

Perdido – Take 1 Duke Ellington and his Orchestra 130 1942 The Duke Ellington Centennial Edition: Complete RCA Victor Recordings (disc 13) 3:09

Hootie Boogie (1945) Jay McShann 148 1945 Jay McShann: Complete Jazz Series 1944 – 1946 2:55

Chicken Shack Boogie Lionel Hampton and his Sextet (Benny Bailey, Johnny Board, Gene Morris, Wes Montgomery, Roy Johnson, Earl Walker) 124 1949 Hamp: The Legendary Decca Recordings 3:16

Joog, Joog Duke Ellington and his Orchestra 146 1949 Duke Ellington and his Orchestra: 1949-1950 3:01

A Viper’s Moan Willie Bryant and his Orchestra (Teddy Wilson, Cozy Cole) 153 1935 Willie Bryant 1935-1936 3:26

I’se A Muggin’ Stuff Smith and his Onyx Club Boys (Jonah Jones, Raymond Smith, Bobby Bennett, Mack Walker, John Washington) 161 1936 Stuff Smith: Complete Jazz Series 1936 – 1939 3:14

Peckin’ Johnny Hodges and his Orchestra (Cootie Williams, Barney Bigard, Otto Hardwick, Harry Carney, Fred Guy, Hayes Alvis, Sonny Greer, Duke Ellington, Buddy Clark) 165 1937 The Duke’s Men: Small Groups Vol. 1 (Disc 2) 3:10

With a Smile and a Song (-1) Teddy Hill and his Orchestra (Hot Lips Page, Pee Wee Russell, Chu Berry, Sally Gooding) 110 1937 Classic Chu Berry Columbia And Victor Sessions (Mosaic disc 03) 3:10

B-Sharp Boston Duke Ellington and his Orchestra 126 1949 Duke Ellington and his Orchestra: 1949-1950 2:55

Corner Pocket Count Basie and his Orchestra 137 1955 Complete Clef/Verve Count Basie Fifties Studio Recordings (Mosaic disc 05) 5:18

Corina, Corina Jimmy Witherspoon with Roy Eldridge, Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Woody Herman, Earl Hines, Vernon Alley, Mel Lewis 140 1959 The ‘Spoon Concerts 3:22

Hound Dog Big Mama Thornton 125 1965 American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1965 (disc 05) 3:20

I Ain’t Mad At You Mildred Anderson 158 1960 No More In Life 3:04

On Revival Day Carrie Smith acc. by George Kelly, Ram Ramirez, Billy Butler 189 1977 When You’re Down and Out 3:49

La La Blues Pokey LaFarge 201 Riverboat Soul 3:42

Short Dress Gal Shotgun Jazz Band 138 2013 Don’t Give Up The Ship 3:10

San Francisco Bay Blues Lu Watters’ Yerba Buena Jazz Band with Barbara Dane 160 1964 Blues Over Bodega 3:42

My Baby Just Cares For Me Nina Simone 120 The Great Nina Simone 3:38

As I was playing ‘Yacht Club Swing’ I was explaining to a friend sitting next to me why I love that part where it goes deee-dooo-dee-doo. A minute later, another DJed plopped next to me to explain why he loved the part where it goes do-do-do-dee. Fats Waller brings all the nerds to the yard.

Pokey Lafarge. Love. I don’t know how I’d dance to this song, and neither did anyone else, really. Except those guys doing bal which kind of slipped into 2-step. They had it going on. Great party song, though.
I love Pokey Lafarge so close to Luke Winslow-King. I love Luke W-K.

Then I played Jumpy Nerves because people’d been complaining about how they hate In The Mood. So I was totally pranking them with that song (which features the ‘in the mood’ riff).

Relistening now, I have no idea how ‘West End Blues’ fitted into the vibe. But at the time, it was just perfect. A room full of lindy hoppers dancing slowly to the best recording of a blues song of all time. It was quite magical. They didn’t ‘blues dance’, they just danced. Except for that one chick who crumpled up her nose and said to me, really loudly, across the DJ table “AH! There is a whole room of this next door!” And I LOLed and said “I doubt the Hot Five is playing next door. If it was – I’d be there!” Anyway, this song went down perfectly.

I think this sort of odd transition worked because the population of the room was fluctuating so much. I’d have a packed room for three songs, then it’d empty as the band started its next set. Then a couple of songs in an emptier room, then a sudden influx.

Love ‘Wild Man Blues’. I’m definitely playing a particular type of set here, from Wingy Manone on for the next ten or 12 songs.

This is my favourite version of ‘Stompin At the Savoy’. As I was playing this, a Canadian dancer yelled to me “I love this song! I learnt to do the shim sham to it!” And loled, because I did too, and because we’d just finished teaching the shim sham using this song.

‘Perdido’ because we are all Lennart. And because there were a HEAP of solo folks in the room at that time, rocking out their rhythm variations in a pretty hard core way. It was like the room was suddenly all about jazz. A friend called it a ‘good jazz session’. Yes.

And then ‘Hootie’s boogie’ because that’s the other song Lennart uses to teach with a lot.

‘Chicken Shack Boogie’ because peeps were tired, and I love following up Hootie’s Boogie with this we love teaching 6-count partner stuff to boogie because it’s fun.

‘Joog Joog’ because MOAR ELLINGTON. A couple of dancers looked up at me with crumpled brows when the intro began, and I gave them the reassuring thumbs up, because it is a great dancing song.

‘Viper’s Moan’ because Teddy Wilson, and because some of the people in the room didn’t know much of what I was playing, and I figured they needed something familiar to hang onto. Also it is great. And I like the way we move between such different piano styles from Jay McShann to Hamp’s band to Ellington and then to Willie Bryant’s band.

…after that things went a bit ordinary, I reckon. I was tired, I had had a particularly shitty night dealing with admin problems, and I was just a bit over it all. So I didn’t do my best work. But that first part of the set makes me happy.

8tracks: Swingin’ at the Peebs

Swingin' at the Peebs from dogpossum on 8tracks Radio.

Here are some songs we play a lot in our classes. For our beginner lindy hop and our solo classes.
I’ve just uploaded the songs randomly because we tend to play them randomly in class.
Songs:

(title artist year album length)
A Viper’s Moan Willie Bryant and his Orchestra (Teddy Wilson, Cozy Cole) 1935 Willie Bryant 1935-1936 153 3:26

Laughing In Rhythm Slim Gaillard and his Peruvians 1951 Laughing In Rhythm: The Best Of The Verve Years 142 2:56

Laff, Slam, Laff Slam Stewart Quartet (Erroll Garner, Mike Bryan, Harold ‘Doc’ West) 1945 Bowin’ Singin’ Slam 156 2:59

Drinkin’ Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee Lionel Hampton and his Orchestra with Sonny Parker 1949 Hamp: The Legendary Decca Recordings 134 3:24

Fiddle Diddle Lionel Hampton and his Orchestra (Walter Fuller, Omer Simeon, George Oldham, Budd Johnson, Robert Crowder, Spencer Odom, Jesse Simpkins, Alvin Burroughs) 1938 The Complete Lionel Hampton Victor Sessions 1937-1941 (Mosaic disc 02) 143 3:24

I’se A Muggin’ Le Quintette du Hot Club de France (Stéphane Grappelli, Django Reinhardt, Joseph Reinhardt, Pierre Ferret, Lucien Simoens, Freddy Taylor) 1936 The Complete Django Reinhardt And Quintet Of The Hot Club Of France Swing/HMV Sessions 1936-1948 (Mosaic disc 01) 176 3:08

Goin’ Out The Back Way Johnny Hodges and his Orchestra (Ray Nance, Lawrence Brown, Harry Carney, Duke Ellington, Jimmy Blanton, Sonny Greer) 1941 The Duke Ellington Centennial Edition: Complete RCA Victor Recordings (disc 12) 155 2:44

Stompin’ At The Savoy Jimmy Dorsey and his Orchestra 1936 Swingsation: Charlie Barnet and Jimmy Dorsey 162 3:12

Cole Slaw Jesse Stone and His Orchestra Original Swingers: Hipsters, Zoots and Wingtips vol 2 145 2:57

Sad Sap Sucker Am I Fats Waller and His Rhythm (John Hamilton, Gene Sedric, Al Casey, Cedric Wallace, Slick Jones) 1941 The Last Years (1940-1943) (disc 02) 142 3:03

All That Meat And No Potatoes Fats Waller and His Rhythm (John Hamilton, Gene Sedric, Al Casey, Cedric Wallace, Slick Jones) 1941 The Last Years (1940-1943) (disc 02) 143 2:47

B-Sharp Boston Duke Ellington and his Orchestra 1949 Duke Ellington and his Orchestra: 1949-1950 126 2:55

Lawdy Clawdy The Cats and the Fiddle 1941 We Cats Will Swing For You Volume 2 1940-41 148 2:57

Fan It Bob Wills 1936 San Antonio Rose [disc 02] 151 2:42

Flying Home Benny Goodman Sextet (Fletcher Henderson, Charlie Christian, Artie Bernstein, Nick Fatool, Lionel Hampton) 1940 Charlie Christian: The Genius of The Electric Guitar (disc 1) 167 3:16

Bearcat Shuffle Andy Kirk and his Twelve Clouds of Joy (Mary Lou Williams) 1936 The Lady Who Swings the Band – Mary Lou Williams with Any Kirk and his Clouds of Joy 160 3:01

This is the second playlist, because it was all a bit huge in one, and because we play a LOT of Fats, Hamp and Slim and Slam.

Swingin' at the Peebs #2 from dogpossum on 8tracks Radio.

Song list:

Slim’s Jam Slim Gaillard and his Orchestra (Bam Brown, Zutty Singleton, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Jack McVea) 110 3:17 The Legends of Savoy, Vol. 2 1945

My Baby Just Cares For Me Nina Simone 120 3:38 The Great Nina Simone

Lemonade Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five 117 3:17 Louis Jordan And His Tympany Five (vol 5) 1950

Don’t Be That Way Lionel Hampton and his Orchestra (Cootie Williams, Johnny Hodges, Edgar Sampson, Jess Stacy, Allen Reuss, Billy Taylor, Sonny Greer) 136 2:36 The Complete Lionel Hampton Victor Sessions 1937-1941 (Mosaic disc 02) 1938

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop Lionel Hampton and his Orchestra 135 3:21 Hamp: The Legendary Decca Recordings 1945

Wham Johnny Hodges and his Orchestra (Emmett, Berry, Lawrence Brown, Al Sears, Leroy Lovett, Lloyd Trotman, Joe Marshall) 140 3:07 A Pound of Blues 1952

Peckin’ Johnny Hodges and his Orchestra (Cootie Williams, Barney Bigard, Otto Hardwick, Harry Carney, Duke Ellington, Fred Guy, Hayes Alvis, Sonny Greer, Buddy Clark) 165 3:10 The Duke’s Men: Small Groups Vol. 1 (Disc 2) 1937

Moten Swing Jay McShann’s Kansas City Stompers 192 2:57 Kansas City Blues 1944-1949 (Disc 1) 1944

Hootie Boogie (1945) Jay McShann 148 2:55 Jay McShann: Complete Jazz Series 1944 – 1946 1945

Answer Man Harry James 143 3:47 New York World’s Fair, 1940 – The Blue Room, Hotel Lincoln, 1940

Functionizin’ Fats Waller and his Rhythm (Herman Autrey, C.E. Smith, Eddie Anderson, Fred Robinson, George Wilson, Rudy Powell, Gene Sedric, George James, Emmett Matthews, Fred Skerritt, Hank Duncan, James Smith, Charles Turner) 177 3:07 I’m Gonna Sit Right Down: The Early Years, Part 2 (disc 02) 1935

Fat And Greasy Fats Waller and his Rhythm (Herman Autrey, C.E. Smith, Eddie Anderson, Fred Robinson, George Wilson, Rudy Powell, Gene Sedric, George James, Emmett Matthews, Fred Skerritt, Hank Duncan, James Smith, Charles Turner) 162 3:11 I’m Gonna Sit Right Down: The Early Years, Part 2 (disc 02) 1935

Spinnin’ The Webb Chick Webb and his Orchestra (Louis Jordan) 132 3:08 Stomping At The Savoy (disc 4): Spinnin’ the Web 1938

Easy Does It Big Eighteen (Billy Butterfield, Buck Clayton, Charlie Shavers, Rex Stewart, Lawrence Brown, Vic Dickenson, Lou McGarity, Dicky Wells, Walt Levinksy, Hymie Schertzer, Sam Donahue, Boomie Richman, Ernie Caceres, Johnny Guarnieri, Barry Galbraith, Milt ) 129 5:14 Echoes of the Swinging Bands 1958

A Mellow Bit of Rhythm Andy Kirk and his Twelve Clouds of Joy (Mary Lou Williams) 158 3:20 The Lady Who Swings the Band – Mary Lou Williams with Any Kirk and his Clouds of Joy 1937

Here is the pic in full, because it was super fun to make. The dog (Buster), stuffed fruit bat (unnamed), and carpet pattern are all from the Peebs. The Peebs has a hand-pump and specialises in interesting beers. It is a lawn bowls club, where you can roll a few balls.

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Shouting 8 track

Shouting from dogpossum on 8tracks Radio.

name artist bpm length album year

Intro / Time’s Gettin’ Tougher Than Tough – Jimmy Witherspoon with Roy Eldridge, Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Woody Herman, Earl Hines, Vernon Alley, Mel Lewis – 134 – 3:35 – The ‘Spoon Concerts – 1959

Splanky Count Basie and his Orchestra – 120 – 4:15 – Breakfast Dance And Barbecue – 1959

Roll ‘Em Pete – Big Joe Turner, Joe Newman, Lawrence Brown, Pete Brown, Frank Wess, Pete Johnson, Freddie Green, Walter Page, Cliff Leeman – 186 – 3:45 – The Boss Of The Blues – 1956

Wee Baby Blues – Count Basie and his Orchestra (Mahalia Jackson) – 64 – 3:14 – Live In Antibes 1968 – 1968

Cherry Red – Big Joe Turner, Joe Newman, Lawrence Brown, Pete Brown, Frank Wess, Pete Johnson, Freddie Green, Walter Page, Cliff Leeman – 96 – 3:25 The Boss Of The Blues – 1956

Every Day I Have The Blues – Count Basie and his Orchestra (Joe Williams) – 116 – 3:49 – Breakfast Dance And Barbecue – 1959

St. Louis Blues Big Joe Turner, Jimmy Nottingham, Lawrence Brown, Pete Brown, Seldon Powell, Pete Johnson, Freddie Green, Walter Page, Cliff Leeman – 154 – 4:20 – The Boss Of The Blues – 1956

Big Fine Girl – Jimmy Witherspoon with Roy Eldridge, Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Woody Herman, Earl Hines, Vernon Alley, Mel Lewis – 156 – 4:55 – The ‘Spoon Concerts – 1959

Stormy Monday Blues – Count Basie and his Orchestra (Mahalia Jackson) – 121 – 3:50 – Live In Antibes 1968 – 1968

Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho – Mahalia Jackson – 130 – 2:13 – Live At Newport 1958 – 1958

Goats: THROWN!

Imperial Swing from dogpossum on 8tracks Radio.

Last weekend I DJed my first proper lindy hop set since November, and it was super fine. It was the first set of the night at Imperial Swing, a social gig put on by Swing Out Sydney. TOTAL FUN. It’s a great venue, and the sound system is pretty damn special. The DJ after me – Kat – is now my new favourite DJ. She was ON FIRE. Here’s the set list, because a friend asked for it. I aim to please.

Anyways, this set is pretty much what I think of as a ‘potato chip’ set: these are the sorts of songs you can just eat down by the handful. Nothing too crazy or confronting, lots of familiar stuff (C Jam Blues!), lots of energy. I was aiming for a high-energy party feel, and wanted to keep the tempos kind of reasonable as the crowd included some very new dancers. I figured familiar was also good, as many of the regular dancers who’d arrived were feeling a bit unsure of themselves in a queer space, so I wanted to help them find their feet. And, you know, we overplay C Jam Blues because IT’S A GREAT SONG.

title year artist album name song length (links -> where you can buy the album direct from the artist)

Blue Monday 1957 Jay McShann and his Band (Jimmy Witherspoon) 125 Goin’ To Kansas City Blues 3:40

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop 1945 Lionel Hampton and his Orchestra 135 Hamp: The Legendary Decca Recordings 3:21

C-Jam Blues 1999 Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis 143 Live In Swing City: Swingin’ With Duke 3:34

Blues In Hoss’s Flat 1958 Count Basie and his Orchestra 144 Chairman Of The Board [Bonus Tracks] 3:13

The Spinach Song 2004 Terra Hazelton (feat. Jeff Healey’s Jazz Wizards) 165 Anybody’s Baby 4:57

Percolatin’ Blues 2011 Smoking Time Jazz Club 135 Lina’s Blues 4:14

I Like Pie 2012 Gordon Webster (with Aurora Nealand, Jesse Selengut, Gordon Au, Dan Levinson, Matt Musselman, Cassidy Holden, Rob Adkins, Jeremy Noller, Steven Mitchell) 162 Live In Rochester 5:38

Sales Tax 2012 Leigh Barker and the New Sheiks (Matt Boden, Don Stewart, Alastair McGrath-Kerr, Eamon McNelis, Heather Stewart) 132 The Sales Tax 3:43

Good Rockin’ Tonight 1959 Jimmy Witherspoon with Roy Eldridge, Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Woody Herman, Earl Hines, Vernon Alley, Mel Lewis 160 The ‘Spoon Concerts 2:27

Don’t You Miss Your Baby 1980 Jimmy Witherspoon and Panama Francis’ Savoy Sutans 145 Jimmy Witherspoon and Panama Francis’ Savoy Sultans 3:56

Milenberg Joys 2010 Gordon Webster (with Jesse Selengut, Matt Musselman, Cassidy Holden, Rob Adkins, Jeremy Noller, Adrian Cunningham) 194 Live In Philadelphia 3:45

It’s Your Last Chance To Dance 2007 Preservation Hall 179 The Hurricane Sessions 4:31

Mr Gentle and Mr Cool 2005 John Hallam and Jeff Barnhart 173 Mr. Gentle and Mr. Hot 3:23

Tempo de Luxe 1940 Harry James 130 New York World’s Fair, 1940 – The Blue Room, Hotel Lincoln, 3:19
Savoy 1942 Lucky Millinder and his Orchestra (Trevor Bacon) 166 Anthology Of Big Band Swing (Disc 2) 3:05

St. Louis Blues 1939 Ella Fitzgerald and her Famous Orchestra 183 Ella Fitzgerald In The Groove 4:46

Keep On Churnin’ 1952 Wynonie Harris 146 Wynonie Harris: Complete Jazz Series 1950 – 1952 2:56

I Ain’t Mad At You 1960 Mildred Anderson 158 No More In Life 3:04

Here’s what I was thinking as I was DJing:

‘Blue Monday’ is a song I often start sets with. It’s an easy tempo, has lots of energy, and a very simple structure. It worked well for me here as the music in the free lesson before the dance was mostly neo, and I needed a good transition to my more old-schooly music. Also: shouting.

‘Hey! Ba-ba-re-bop’. You know why I played this.

‘C Jam Blues’. By this point I had a lot of energy happening, and the room had settled into proper social dancing after the class. I decided I wanted to come in pretty hard with the energy (rather than easing into things), as I only had an hour. There were enough people in the room who could dance comfortably, so I figured I’d ring Pavlov’s Bell and get the kids jumping about a bit.

‘Blues In Hoss’ Flat’. I love following C Jam Blues with this. It’s the perfect Ellington-Basie one-two punch. BAM! Things were cooking at this point. A mass of people arrived in a big flow, so I needed to get really serious.

‘The Spinach Song’. Enough of that big band wall of sound! I wanted to get to some NOLA action eventually, so I needed a good transition. This song is a brilliant transition from that Kansas city blues shouter sort of vibe that ‘Blues in Hoss’s Flat’ sets up. It also echoed the Witherspoon song. But the instrumentation leans a bit more towards old school.

‘Percolatin’ Blues’. I felt as though the previous song was the crest of the first energy hill, so I needed a chillout song. Those previous songs had kind of battered people emotionally with their big, intense feelings, and I needed to give people an in to the dance floor if they’d not gotten up yet. So I dropped the tempos and the intensity so peeps could dip their toes in if they’d just arrived or finally recovered from the class and felt ready to try again. This was about twenty minutes into the set, which is the end of the first third, where I’m usually thinking we’re cresting.

Ok, enough with the molly coddling. Time to pump the energy up again. I’d said I’d play this in talk on FB, and it’s still massively popular. Personally, I’m totally over this version of ‘I Like Pie’. I’m tired of the mugging lyrics, and I’m tired of the fairly boring chorus. But each time I listen to it, I fall in love with Gordon’s piano. That shit is hot. Anyways, this was a crowd-pleaser.

But things were kind of loud and intense, and I saw quite a few tired people looking for a break after two longer songs. So I did ‘Sales Tax’. I think I made a slight misjudgement with this one. I needed to keep the energy up, but with a slightly different sound. Anyways, it wasn’t quite right. It was around this point that I realised there was some serious problem happening with the sound system. The sound was too loud at the front and not loud enough at the back. The sound guy had disappeared, so I couldn’t ask him.

‘Good Rockin’ Tonight’ – a live version. I went with more Witherspoon because I wanted to kick things up with some higher tempo shouting live fun. But I was quite distracted by the technical problem, so I’m not sure it was the perfect choice (though as the song progressed it turned out to be the perfect choice). But about 30 seconds in, a seriously loud alarm started beeping in the DJ booth. The dancers couldn’t hear it, but it was LOUD. The sound guy came running down and tried to fix things. Apparently someone had turned off all the music in the pub. On Saturday night in an inner city queer pub. Nice one. It WASN’T ME.

Anyways, I was kind of shaken by that, so I just lined up the next song I had in mind, and had to physically move myself out of the way, away from my laptop and the sound gear. So the next Witherspoon – another Witherspoon – was a random choice. I’d almost played it instead of ‘Good Rockin’ Tonight’, but didn’t. It turned out to be a really good choice, but I felt as though I’d lost control of things for a second there. Anyways, by the end of the song, the alarm was off, I was back at the laptop and it was time to get into things again.

By the end of that song, it was time to hit that crest again. The energy really chugs along in that Panama Francis band’s version of a standard, but Witherspoon adds a really interesting alternative to the Jimmy Rushing version we hear all the time. And I was feeling a bit smarty pants, referring back to that Basie song with Witherspoon again.

‘Milenberg Joys’. I much prefer this to the Pie and Cake song. It rocks. It pulled the energy (and tempos) up. I’d have gone faster again, but the crowd wasn’t quite up to it. There were still a lot of new dancers, and the dancers who’d been around for a while didn’t really have the skills to tackle the massively higher tempos. The room felt hot, though, and people were kind of going crazy. There were quite a few glazed crazy-eyes in the room, which was pleasing.

So I did the obvious thing after this with Preservation Hall. I’m kind of over this song. I think it’s overplayed, and unlike C Jam Blues, I don’t think it’s quite versatile enough to warrant the overplaying. But it provided a nice climax to the energy in the room. And, long song. is long.

‘Mr Gentle and Mr Cool’ is a lovely, lovely song that an Adelaidean DJ, Jarryd, put me onto. I’m obsessed with it. It actually reminds me of the Preservation Hall Hot 4 album in the piano, so in my mind it was a lovely match to the song before. I’m not sure peeps who don’t know that Pres Hall small group album would have caught the connection, but, who cares! Anyways, it’s a chillaxed, more complex song, but it still has some tempo on it, so it doesn’t let things die.

By this point I was done with that modern NOLA sound. I needed something older and funner. I’m a bit nuts about this Harry James song. It was recorded live at the World’s Fair in 1940. It starts really mellow and kind of sweet. But mid-way it picks up with a bang! and becomes a fucking brilliant dance song.
I’m interested in the World Fair from that year for a few reasons. Firstly, there’s footage of people dancing together at the Fair. And they’re all women. WIN!

The Fair did, of course, feature lindy hoppers from the Savoy doing performances, but apparently this was a pretty shitty gig. Reading through my copy of The Man Who Recorded the World, a book about Alan Lomax, I discovered that he’d designed the music bits of that World Fair as a series of ‘everyday’ music spaces – jook joints featuring blues music, town halls playing bluegrass, etc etc etc. He’d wanted to recreate the contexts he’d recorded music in during his ethnographic work. But the Fair organisers reneged on his plans and forced the ‘mock Savoy’ into the plan, and abandoned Lomax’s much more interesting ideas. I suspect this shift was partly to blame for the shitty time the Savoy dancers had at the Fair (I have, incidentally, written a bit about this stuff in the post a snot-addled, animated wander through san francisco).

More usefully to dancers on the night, ‘Tempo deLuxe’ is what I think of as a ‘builder’ – it starts mellow and gets crazy. A good transition from the mellower song before to the fun I wanted to do next.

‘Savoy’ is, of course, a song about the Savoy Ballroom. See what I did there? It’s also a stock standard. And a jolly good song with lots of fun in it.

I’ve been playing that version of ‘St Louis Blues’ for years and years and years. It’s truly fabulous, AND it was recorded live at the Savoy ballroom. See?

Ok, so things feel exciting in the room. I was building energy for the dancers, but also because we were about to have a performance by Pretty Strong Woman, who does weight-lifting burlesque stuff. And I like to set up the energy for performers.

After all that Savoy stuff I went with Wyonie Harris because the crowd had quite a few rock n rollers, and I wanted to at least throw them part of a bone. Not much of a bone, though. Mildred Anderson was a similar token effort. Both of these are great songs, but they lean towards jump blues, and I find them great cross-over songs when I’m playing a mixed lindy hop/rock n roll crowd. These two are a bit slower, too, so they’re more accessible.

And then I was done!

Fun times! And as I said, Kat played a cracker of a set after me. She really did brilliant work. And I danced like a fool til the rock n roll/neo DJs came on at midnight, and then I went home. After I saw Kira Hu-la-la do a brilliant motorhead type burlesque show. Oh, how I LOLed at her clever jokes. GOATS: THROWN!

small group time

I love small swing groups, and Riverwalk Jazz are doing a show on them this week called Goodman, Shaw & Dorsey: Big Band Leaders and Their Small Combos. It features a few of my favourite small groups, most of which make for good (though fairly precise, and dare I say it, uptight) dancing.

That Riverwalk Jazz show reminded me of an 8tracks I did a while ago, which is mostly small groups. I’m really a fool for a small group, I think mostly because I dance to small groups more often IRL. But also because I like the way you can hear every instrument in a small band, and the smaller format lets musicians work together in a team, yet still as individuals:

songs by singers with small bands from dogpossum on 8tracks.

The Riverwalk Jazz discussion of small groups has also made me think about the Ozcats, who’re a very good Bob Crosby and the Bob Cats tribute band in Sydney. I’ve only seen them play twice, and not for over a year, but they were the best Australian band I’ve ever danced to. A heap of older blokes staring at their scores from seats on the stage, rocking out. I’d love to have them at a dance event again. They play this sort of music:

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A-one, a-two, a-you know what to do!

A-one, a-two, a-you know what to do! from dogpossum on 8tracks.

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This month has been Frankie Manning month for me, teaching two Frankie themed classes a week (lindy hop and solo jazz), visiting Melbourne for the Shiny Stockings weekend with Chazz Young, Steven Mitchell and Ramona Staffeld (Ramona drove this excellent weekend) and generally doing quite a lot of research into Frankie Manning’s dancing and choreography.

It was, of course, Frankie’s birthday on the 26th May, and this has proven a nice focus for all this effort. I think it was a great idea to use the whole month to focus on Frankie’s work, and I’ve been feeling very inspired and challenged. I’ve also been struck by just how much joy this Frankie themed material has brought our students in class (it really does fill you up with happiness), and how important Frankie has been to the lindy hop revival. Yes, he was a brilliant dancer and choreographer, but he was also so important to the revival of lindy hop in the modern day, bringing not only his knowledge of dance, but his feeling for other people and for dancing. He would always begin his dances with the ideas that you ‘bow to the queen’ and ‘for the next three minutes you’re in love with this person’, and this seems like a pretty good way to dance – and live your life – to me. Respect your partner, love dance and dancing, let your partner be the centre of your world for the next little moment. I’m down with that.

So here is a little 8tracks devoted to Frankie Manning.

1. Jumpin’ At The Woodside – Count Basie and his Orchestra – 235 – The Complete Decca Recordings (disc 02) – 1939 – 3:10

2. “Big Apple Contest” – The Solomon Douglas Swingtet – 211 – Swingmatism – 2006 – 2:58

3. Hellzapoppin – George Gee – 356 – 2009 – 2:13

4. Cotton Tail – Duke Ellington and his Famous Orchestra – 236 – Big Ben – Disc 1 – Cotton Tail – 1940 – 4:49 PM

5. Flying Home – Lionel Hampton and his Orchestra – 197 – Lionel Hampton Story 2: Flying Home – 1942 – 3:11

6. Shiny Stockings – Count Basie and his Orchestra – 126 – Complete Clef/Verve Count Basie Fifties Studio Recordings [Disc 6] – 1956 – 5:17

7. Easy Does It – Big Eighteen (Billy Butterfield, Buck Clayton, Charlie Shavers, Rex Stewart, Lawrence Brown, Vic Dickenson, Lou McGarity, Dicky Wells, Walt Levinksy, Hymie Schertzer, Sam Donahue, Boomie Richman, Ernie Caceres, Johnny Guarnieri, Barry Galbraith, Milt ) – 129 – Echoes of the Swinging Bands – 1958 – 5:14

8. The Shim Sham Song – JW Swing Orchestra – 183 – Holdin’ You In My Holden – 2002 – 2:46

1. ‘Jumpin at the Woodside’.
This song is one of those Pavlov’s Lindy Hopper tracks that quite often provokes a jam circle. But it was the song to which the famous lindy hop routine in the 1941 film Hellzapoppin was originally choreographed (read more about that here). There are sixty million versions, but this one is my favourite.

(Whiteys Lindy Hoppers .. Helzapoppin)

Basie is a particularly important band leader when we’re talking Frankie.

2. ‘The ‘Big Apple Contest” from the Keep Punchin’ soundie.
Taken from a short film, the routine accompanying this song has proved particularly popular with lindy hoppers, especially in the last six years or so. It’s a high energy, challenging choreography, lots of fun to dance, lots of interesting shapes and steps.

The Big Apple contest from Keep Punchin’

This version of this song is important because it’s the most commonly used, and perhaps the best quality version we have available. It’s by Solomon Douglas’ Swingtet, and was transcribed by Solomon. Solomon is a DJ and dancer as well as a talented pianist who plays with lots of good bands, as well as with his own outfits. I think this recording could do with a bit more attention, really. It gets used an awful lot, and is the sort of recording only a band tightly connected with lindy hoppers would research and record. Musically speaking I’m not sure the actual song is all that awesome, but this is a great treatment, and the song itself is absolutely central to Frankie Manning’s history on film.

3. I don’t need to explain ‘Hellzapoppin” again. But I do need to point out that this version was transcribed and recorded by George Gee, a band leader with a long history of association and collaboration with lindy hoppers. He was right there in the early days of the revival, and he’s still right there, in the thick of it.

I can’t embed the video, but I can link you to this ‘Hellzapoppin, Then and Now’ video featuring this song played live.
I’m not sure where or if you can buy this song now, but I downloaded it from FB where George Gee was giving it away for free a while ago.

4. ‘Cottontail’ was featured in the 1941 soundie ‘Cottontail’ featuring Duke Ellington and his orchestra. This clip features the Hot Chocolates (aka the Harlem Congaroos), a group of Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers from the Savoy Ballroom, and once again featuring Frankie Manning (read more about it here).

(linky)

5. ‘Flying Home’ by Lionel Hampton’s orchestra (1942).
This is one of the first songs associated with the lindy hop revival. Spike Lee’s 1992 film ‘Malcolm X’ is important in lindy hop history because Frankie Manning (and other old timer and modern day lindy hoppers with mad skills) were involved in its production, in no small part because of Lee’s fierce determination to highlight black American history. Manning appears in this sequence, but was also involved in the choreography.

lindy hop scene from Malcolm X

This song is another one that’ll start a jam if you’re not careful. I’m extra interested in this song because it was also famously recorded by Benny Goodman’s smaller groups, and those groups were really important because they were one of the earliest and most determinedly high profile swing bands featuring black and white performers. So I tend to think of this clip as a political comment on lindy hop history as well as a spankingly good dance track.

6. ‘Shiny Stockings’, Count Basie Orchestra in 1956.
This song is important because it was one of Frankie’s favourites, and he used it in classes and performances all the time in the revival period.

Frankie and Dawn Hampton performing in 2008

As a DJ and music nerd, I’m quite interested in the correlation between ‘new testatment Basie’ and ‘new testament Frankie’. This was the second half of these artists’ careers, quite different to their earlier work, and yet utterly dependent on that 1930s/40s history of hot and fast swing jazz. In these later periods of their careers, both Basie and Frankie explored subtler, more nuanced work (Frankie of course responding to what he heard in Basie’s music), both working with slower tempos and greater subtlety.

Teaching this past month I’ve realised that though you might see a subtler dancing at work in Frankie’s post-revival lindy hop, his movements are still those of a dancer who spent most of their time running about at high tempos in massively athletic displays of skill. So though his joints were older and stiffer, his body (and brain) still remembered how to move like an athlete, and to really recreate this (as if you really could!), you need to start big and athletic, then pare it back to the more nuanced essence. It’s the same with Basie’s music. His playing in the 50s is pared back from the stomping stride playing of his early days in Kansas to just a few careful notes accenting rhythm and melody in the 50s.

7. ‘Easy Does It’, by the Big Eighteen in 1958.

Another of Frankie’s teaching and performing favourites from the revival period:

(with Sylvia Sykes in 2006)

This version of ‘Easy Does It’ is a good one because it’s by the Big Eighteen – a celebrity all-star band mashed together for a few studio recordings. There’s a bit of grandstanding in there, but really, if that crowd got together, you’d expect nothing less. ‘Easy Does It’ was recorded by heaps of people, including Basie’s band in 1940.

8. ‘The Shim Sham Song’ – JW Swing Orchestra.
Another key song for the lindy hop revival, Frankie taught and performed the shim sham all over the world using this song. There’s a far more famous version by George Gee’s band, featuring Frankie calling the steps, but the JW Swing Orchestra was important in the Melbourne lindy hop scene in the earlier days. They recorded this quite good version in 2002, and though I don’t especially like this song, it’s absolutely central to lindy hop history and to Frankie Manning’s importance.

Though it’s not using that ‘Shim Sham song’, this ‘global shim sham’ tribute video put together for Frankie 95 gives you an idea of both the dance’s importance, and the great love felt for Frankie Manning by lindy hoppers all over the world.


(linky)

Happy Birthday Frankie, and thanks for all the lols!