Here's how it went down at the Battle of the Bands at the Galaxie last Saturday: Lippy had constructed an elaborate bracket scheme for the 6 djs in the competition (it is March Madness time, after all). See the bracket above, which was assigned by random draw. For the first round, each DJ has to play a 20 minute set of music exclusively from their chosen artist or band. They are then judged (by audience applause) against the other two DJs in their bracket, and one of the DJs is eliminated. Each of the DJs from the left bracket then has a 15 minute set versus one of the DJs from the right bracket, and only one of them survives (again judged by audience applause). This leaves 2 final DJs, who battle it out trading sets of 2 songs a piece, currying favor from the audience. Cash prize for the winner.
After a beginner lesson and then a little warm-up music, the battle kicked off at 9 p.m. with Doug "Doberman" Hillman representing Oscar Peterson, followed by Chris "The Man with the Middles" playing nothing but Jimmie Lunceford, and then John Joven playing Benny Goodman. Oscar Peterson had another gig later that night, so basically Lunceford and Goodman got a first round bye.
I kicked off the second set of three DJs starting at 10 p.m., representing Louis Armstrong. Here's my first set:
- Cabaret - Louis Armstrong - Louis Armstrong - 3:59 - 155
- Jack-Armstrong Blues - Louis Armstrong - Louis Armstrong & His All-Stars - 3:00 - 185
- Who Walks In When I Walk Out? with Ella Fitzgerald - Louis Armstrong - The Wonderful Duets - 2:21 - 135
- A Fine Romance - Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - Ella and Louis Again - 3:56 - 170
- Georgia Grind - Louis Armstrong - Satchmo: A Musical Autobiography Disc 1 - 3:19 - 115
- I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby - Louis Armstrong - Satch Plays Fats (Remaster) - 4:28 - 162
The semi-finals started off with Benny Goodman versus Sam Cooke. From a "flow" standpoint, I thought it was a little odd to have two all-Sam-Cooke sets separated by just 20 minutes, but that's how the bracket fell out. Sam Cooke progressed to the finals by a comfortable margin.
After that round of voting, Armstrong was up against Lunceford. Here's my second set:
- I Love Jazz - Louis Armstrong - Louis Armstrong - 4:39 - 170
- My Bucket's Got a Hole In It - Louis Armstrong - An Evening With Louis Armstrong And His All Stars - 4:24 - 145
- Sugar Foot Stomp - Fletcher Henderson - Ken Burns Jazz: Fletcher Henderson - 2:50 - 205
- My Sweet Hunk O' Trash - Louis Armstrong - The Complete Decca Studio Master Takes 1940-1949 - 3:20 - 95
Lunceford's second set followed on mine, and included the requisite Shim-Sham, followed the Lunceford Special, during which a jam broke out. For sheer entertainment value, it seemed like a great call--that Lunceford cat sure puts up a tough fight. Armstrong eeked out the victory, and was on to the finals against Sam Cooke.
Finals were a challenge--Riley played two soulful Cooke numbers, which meant I had to transition the room back to a jazz sound. Here's how I followed up:
- Honeysuckle Rose - Louis Armstrong - Satch Plays Fats (Remaster) - 2:56 - 170
- Perdido Street Blues - Louis Armstrong - The Complete Decca Studio Master Takes 1940-1949 - 3:08 - 145
Then we were back to Sam Cooke for two songs, and then I had a final two songs to try to bring folks back into Louis' corner. Here's what I chose:
- Love is Here to Stay - Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - Ella and Louis Again - 4:01 - 102
- Hello, Dolly! - Louis Armstrong - Ken Burns Jazz - 2:24 - 155
All in all, a very fun evening of dancing, and an interesting challenge for the DJs. I thought the bracket system worked really well, and forced all the DJs to select songs very strategically. Instead of just blowing the best 20 minutes of Lunceford that there is, Chris had to spread it out over several sets so that he could remain competitive. Hopefully the format will be preserved for next time. Hmmm.....now to figure out who I should represent in the next battle.....