Sunday, March 28, 2010

Isham Jones

Abe writes in:
One band I've come across that doesn't seem to get nearly the attention it should from the swing world is the Isham Jones Orchestra, the band that after 20 or so years, became the Woody Herman band. "King of Dance Bands" I believe was their claim to fame. While recordings of the "better" Jones tunes are available on CD, I'd recommend grabbing them off the free Red Hot Jazz Archive (here's a link, though it can be a bit of a pain to get working as it requires the realplayer2.0 codec). Some of the songs more "in-tune" to dancing include
  • Black Magic,
  • Blue Room,
  • Dallas Blues,
  • Doin' the Uptown Lowdown,
  • Don't Let Your Love Go Wrong,
  • Got the Jitters,
  • I Hate Myself (For Being so Mean to You),
  • Out of Space,
  • Sentimental Gentleman from Georgia, and
  • Sweet Georgia Brown.
Many of these might not be ideal lindy songs, but would provide excellent choreography opportunities.
I'm a little bit familiar with Isham Jones--I like his recording of Doin' the Uptown Lowdown quite a lot. To my ear, Isham's orchestra sits on the border between "society" dance music and "hot" music, with their later recordings (esp. the ones Abe recommends) moving more towards hot. I've got a soft spot for this style of music (for instance, see here), though I do see why it isn't mainstream--a lot of lindyhoppers don't really appreciate dances like foxtrot, peabody, and "society" styles of charleston, which is the sort of movement that this music inspires.

It's great to get tips from y'all, so keep them coming!

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