If and when you do get more into it, many DJs tend to start to get interested in jazz history, to read books like Good Morning, Blues and Pops, to start combing through the archives of SwingDJs.com, quoting early episodes of Hey, Mr. Jesse, wondering whether the correct spelling is janky or djanky, and fretting about copyright infringement while scouring Jazz-On-Line.com. But none of this is at all required.
It periodically occurs to me that Chicago could really use more low-pressure opportunities for people to DJ. Right now there's....Java Jive, maybe? Maybe something up at Northwestern? But nothing in terms of city venues.* In my mind, the ideal opportunity would be hour-long (or even less maybe) slots at venues that have a dependable core of dancers. Maybe the organizers could give the DJs a small tip or let them in for free, but beyond that, no compensation--just some experience, status if you can really win the crowd, and satisfaction from sharing your favorite music. I could see some venues including one or two of these slots every week/month, with the rest of the evening covered by a more experienced house DJ (swing DJ, not house).
Readers, what do you think? Would you give something like that a try if the opportunity was there? Organizers, what say you?
* Of the regular swing and blues events:
- Fizz (Mon., weekly) has a group of decrepit old dudes who've been DJing there for ever.
- Black Rock (Tues., weekly), I think Nicolle usually spins on non-band nights, though I'm not totally sure. She invited me to DJ there once--a Mardi Gras set--and I had a fun time.
- Java Jive (Fri., weekly), I have no idea, never having been there.
- First Friday at Big City Swing (monthly) I almost always DJ, along with Bob or Chris.
- Lucky's Savoy Stomp (First Saturday, monthly) is a new venue, not sure who will be DJing.
- CodeBlue (second Fri., monthly), the organizers cover some of the DJing but have also asked others to step up.
- Saturday Swings (usually third Sat., monthly) usually hosts live bands, with the organizers DJing the band breaks.
- Alhambra Palace (last Wed., monthly), always has a live band and somebody I don't know plays music during the set breaks.
- Bluetopia (last Fri., monthly), not sure how they work.
- Willowbrook (occasionally), I think it's probably mostly Riley.
[Updated to revise the venue list.]