Sunday, June 26, 2011

setlist from Saturday Swing

Last night I spun at ARTTango studios for the Saturday Swing dance organized by my friend and fellow Stuff Smith enthusiast Thea. It's a very nice, inviting venue with plenty of space to dance and also to socialize. I was happy with my set in terms of the music, but I encountered a big technical problem with JRiver Media Center in the middle of the evening, which definitely detracted from my set as a whole. I still haven't managed to isolate the problem, but it seems to have to do with the gap-skipping functionality in JRMC. Normally, the program will automatically trim out leading and trailing silence from a track, but last night instead of trimming it, it would sometimes insert loud static in place of the silence. Then at the end of the evening, two songs before the end of my set, the program crashed all together, and I had to switch to iTunes as quick as I could. Lame, all around. I'll report back when I've figured out what is going on.

In the mean time, here's what I played (plus the usual BPM sparkline and frequency distribution):
  1. Viper's Dream - Django Reinhardt - Django Reinhardt 3: Minor Swing - 3:17 - 170
  2. Satin Doll - Anita O'Day - My Ship - 2:19 - 135
  3. King Porter Stomp - Wynton Marsalis - Mr. Jelly Lord - Standard Time Vol. 6 - 3:09 - 180
  4. My Blue Heaven - The Rosenberg Trio - Roots - 2:54 - 210
  5. What's Your Name? - Echoes of Swing - You've Got To Be Modernistic - 3:18 - 155
  6. Two O'Clock Jump - Harry James And His Orchestra - Trumpet Blues - 3:00 - 155
  7. Gotta Be This Or That - Benny Goodman - Benny Goodman '45 & '47 - 3:10 - 140
  8. I Cried For You - Billie Holiday - Lady Day: The Master Takes And Singles - 3:14 - 155
  9. I'm Beginning To See The Light - Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington - The Great Summit - 3:37 - 150
  10. Splanky - Benny Goodman - The Yale University Music Library, Volume 7: Florida Session - 5:12 - 130
  11. They Raided The Joint - Roy Eldridge Sextet - Little Jazz Giant - 3:18 - 145
  12. Walk It to Me - Hot Lips Page - 67099 DECCA-7757 - 3:17 - 140
  13. Someday You'll Want Me To Want You - Catherine Russell - Cat - 3:13 - 145
  14. Jump Session - Slim Gaillard - 1938-1939 - 2:35 - 160
  15. Bring It On Down - The Baby Soda Jazz Band - Cures Everything But The Blues - 2:34 - 175
  16. My Blue Heaven - The Cangelosi Cards - Clinton Street Recordings, I - 4:11 - 145
  17. Love Me or Leave Me - Banu Gibson - Let Yourself Go - 3:07 - 165
  18. Everybody Rock - Ella Fitzgerald - Live At The Savoy - 1939-40 - 3:18 - 185
  19. C Jam Blues - Gordon Webster - Live In Philadelphia - 4:12 - 170
  20. Are You All Reet? - Chu Berry - Classic Chu Berry Columbia And Victor Sessions - 3:09 - 155
  21. Baby Won't You Please Come Home? - Crytzer's Blue Rhythm Band - Chasin' the Blues - 3:38 - 125
  22. Perdido Street Blues - Southside Aces - A Big Fine Thing - 3:54 - 135
  23. Last Night On The Backporch - The Palmetto Bug Stompers - Ol' New Orleans Home - 4:10 - 150
  24. Goin' To Chicago Blues - Ernestine Anderson - When the Sun Goes Down - 4:54 - 135
  25. Bill Bailey - Ella Fitzgerald - Something To Live For - 3:26 - 130
  26. Corner Pocket - Count Basie - April In Paris - 5:07 - 140
  27. I'm Coming Virginia - Benny Goodman - The Yale University Archives, Volume 3: Big Band In Europe - 2:09 - 170
  28. Route 66 - Linda Hopkins - Wild Women Blues - 3:05 - 160
  29. Daddy - Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers - Miss Smith To You! - 4:39 - 125
  30. Exactly Like You - Carmen McRae - - 2:11 - 135
  31. Smack Dab In The Middle - George Gee - Swingin - 3:00 - 140
  32. Wailing Interval - Duke Ellington - The Private Collection: Volume Six, Dance Dates, California, - 3:39 - 160
  33. Streamliner - The Bill Elliott Swing Orchestra - Swing Masters: Calling All Jitterbugs - 3:50 - 150
  34. Savoy - Lucky Millinder - An Anthology Of Big Band Swing 1930-1955 - 3:05 - 165
  35. Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby - Louis Jordan - Louis Jordan And His Tympani Five, Volume 1 - 2:45 - 135
  36. St. Louis Blues - Benny Goodman - Benny Goodman: Very Best of Benny Goodman - 3:24 - 135
  37. Fine Brown Frame - Lou Rawls - At Last - 3:05 - 125
  38. It's Love Baby (24 Hours a Day) - Erbie Bowser, T.D. Bell, and the Blues Specialists - Down Home Saturday Night - 4:13 - 125
  39. My Bad Luck Soul - Janiva Magness - My Bad Luck Soul - 2:10 - 160
  40. Georgia Grind - Louis Armstrong - Satchmo: A Musical Autobiography Disc 1 - 3:19 - 115
  41. Shake That Thing - The Smoking Time Jazz Club - Quarter Note Vol. 1 - 4:25 - 125
  42. Savoy Blues - Kenny Ball And His Jazzmen - Trad Jazz Masters - 3:53 - 135
  43. Minor Swing - Django Reinhardt - Django Reinhardt 3: Minor Swing - 3:16 - 200
  44. South - Hot Lips Page - Kansas City: Swing, Blues, Jive & Boogie - 2:48 - 200
  45. Yes Indeed - Slam Stewart - Slamboree - 3:35 - 150
  46. Fibre de verre - Paris Combo - Attraction - 3:39 - 135
  47. Dat Dere - Oscar Brown Jr. - Sin & Soul ...And Then Some - 2:52 - 111
  48. Keepin' Out A Mishif Now - Carling Family - 20th Jubilee - 3:32 - 120
  49. My Bucket's Got A Hole In It - Papa Bues Viking Jazzband - Live In Copenhagen - 3:36 - 135
  50. Duke & Dukie - The Rosenberg Trio - Roots - 3:28 - 200
  51. A Smo-o-oth One - Benny Goodman - Benny Goodman - 3:16 - 130

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Story about Lionel Hampton

My friend Bob (aka DJ Thor), writes in to share a story, and a tip on streaming great jazz over the internet:
When I can on Saturday mornings, I listen to riverwalk jazz (10am) and the swing shift (11am-1) on 90.9 or wdcb.org (You can stream it online). I thought you'd appreciate this:

The told a cool story on "riverwalk" this morning about Lionel Hampton's father serving in WWI. A few weeks into leaving for the war, Lionel's father was m.i.a. Lionel's mother attempted to write letters and find where he was, but there was no luck. Lionel went on to become a famous musician down the road and was talking to someone who said there's someone in the hospital claiming to be the father of the famous musician Lionel Hampton (this was 50 years after he had left for the war). The next day, Lionel went to visit this 70 year old man, who turns out to be his father. His father had lost part of his memory in the war, but as things came back when he returned to the US, he found that Lionel's mother had re-married, etc. and didn't want to bother the family. Lionel ended up taking him to New York with him where he spent the rest of his life with him.

Cool little jazz history story.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ellington on EMusic

Unfortunately I am out of credits for the month, so I haven't actually purchased this two-disc Ellington set yet, but that needn't stop you. 100 tracks for $4.40--including Peckin', which is a favorite around our house--means you should probably snag it before somebody at EMusic notices the typo.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Joshua

A while back my friend Bob (aka DJ Thor, because he brings the thunder) and I were talking about the tune Joshua fit de Battle of Jericho. Pretty much everyone knows the version by Sidney Bechet--it's been overplayed for years and years. As I understand it, it's true pretty much all over the country, which is impressive as overplay often tends to be a scene-specific phenomenon. Like all perennial favorite tunes, it is overplayed for a reason--it's a really killer track. The tune itself is a big part of it, I think. It's a great, moving spiritual, the lyrics and music in combination are quite dramatic, and it has an almost hypnotic rhythmic patter.

For fun, I thought I'd go through all of the versions of the tune in my collection, and add some commentary of my own. Next time you're thinking of hitting play on the Bechet version, perhaps you could consider one of the others I list here instead. From least to most favorite (for the moment):
  • Joshua Fit De Battle Of Jericho - Thelma Carpenter - Seems Like Old Times - 2:30 - 155. This version is pretty straight--Thelma's enunciation is impressive but maybe detracts from the performance. Together with the male back-up vocals and instrumentation, the recording sounds a bit too stagey to me. Borderline for playing at a dance.
  • Joshua Fight The Battle Of Jericho - GĂ©rard Messonnier And The Hot Kings - The Best Of New-Orleans Vol. 1 - 3:15 - 165. This sounds to me like a Bechet rip-off. Or to be charitable, the group is very inspired by Bechet. A little plodding.
  • Joshua (1940) - Stuff Smith - Time And Again - 3:22 - 200. Typical Stuff Smith nonsense. He diverges from (forgets?) the original tune after about 8 bars, but man does this group swing like the dickens.
  • Joshua Fit De Battle Of Jericho - Delta Rhythm Boys - The Best Of 1940-50 - 2:32 - 215. Nice male vocal harmony version. It's just the Boys and a piano, so too mellow for dancing.
  • Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho - Kid Ory - In the Forties - 2:58 - 155. This version has a very folk-gospel feel to the vocals, but the instrumentals are chunky and driving like the rest of Kid Ory. Quite danceable.
  • Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho - Mahalia Jackson - I Wonder If I Will Ever Rest - 2:02 - 175. Bob played this version at a dance a while back, which is what got me thinking about the tune. Mahalia has an amazing voice (to make the understatement of the year), and sings this tune like she's leading the charge, or at least Joshua's second-in-command. Accompanied only by piano and snare drum.
  • Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho - Josh White - Josh White Vol. 5 (1944) - 2:32 - 105. Solo male vocal, self-accompanied on guitar. Very nice voice, intimate recording. This recording has some less well-known verses in it. It gets faster as it goes on, which adds to the drama.
  • Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho - Milt Hinton - Bassically With Blue - 3:19 - 215. This is a super groovy, deconstructed instrumental version, featuring amazing slap-bass from Hinton. He also has a virtuosic recording called simply "Joshua" for solo bass, on the album The Judge at his Best.
  • Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho - Sidney Bechet - Sidney Bechet: 1949 - 3:20 - 175. The version that everyone knows. Driving riff, great solos, great group improvisation. The moment that always gets me is right around 1:20, where everybody really starts to wail.
  • Joshua Fit the Battle - Gordon Webster - Live In Philadelphia - 3:57 - 180. Current favorite. The tune is familiar enough to catch people's attention, but it has lots of interesting twists, a wide variety of voices, and a TON of energy (it's a live recording). The clarinet solo is sweet sounding (not quite so grating as Bechet's soprano sax). I love the moment around 1:45 that has a sort of second-line feel, and then around 2:20 when the rhythm section drops out.
And, as an homage to Hey Mr. Jesse, I'll even throw in a BONUS! Check out this video of a bunch of kids singing the tune with multi-part harmonies, on a subway somewhere.

Do you have a favorite version that I haven't listed? Leave a comment.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Clever

A very clever idea from head Balboa DJ Kyle Smith: he ran an NCAA-style tournament to pick the top song for dancing balboa. Check out his bracket for 64 great tune recommendations, and to see which tracks made the final four.

Friday, June 3, 2011

First Friday at Big City Swing 6/3/2011

Thanks to friends of ours who stepped up to babysit, my wife and I BOTH got to go out dancing on Friday! At the same time! Crazy. I also spun the early set (at the First Friday dance at Big City Swing). Going in, I knew it was going to be hot & crowded (it is Big Sweaty Swing, after all), and so I was anticipating riding the tempo wave up and down a bit faster than I might otherwise. I've noticed (through very unsystematic observation) that hot nights often tend to be more conducive to both fast & slow tunes, and that's how it seemed to work out. An extremely lively beginner lesson (Bigs, what did you feed those folks?!?) led into a fairly high-energy early part of the evening. When our friends from Madison showed up, that added another burst of energy--it seemed like they were on the floor dancing their faces off non-stop all night.

Here's what I played (plus the BPM sparkline and frequency distribution):
  1. Rosetta - The Boilermaker Jazz Band - Nice Work If You Can Get It - 3:08 - 170 (Off their new album)
  2. Love Me or Leave Me - Banu Gibson - Let Yourself Go - 3:07 - 165
  3. Shine On Harvest Moon - Pete Fountain - Dixieland's Kings - 2:50 - 160
  4. In the Mood - Glenn Miller - Best of the Lost Recordings & The Secret Broadcasts - 3:15 - 180 (Pandering to the newbies)
  5. I Sent For You Yesterday And Here You Come Today - Benny Goodman - Benny Goodman - 3:09 - 160
  6. Rose Room - The Solomon Douglas Swingtet - Ain't No School Like the Old School - 3:09 - 150
  7. Lumby - Charlie Barnet & His Orchestra - 1941-Transcription Performance - 2:43 - 180 (for Puppy)
  8. Baby, What's The Matter With You? - Roy Eldridge Quintet - Little Jazz Giant - 3:20 - 140
  9. Spoon Calls Hootie - Jimmy Witherspoon - Jimmy Witherspoon - 2:45 - 140
  10. Dark Eyes - Fats Waller - Happy Birthday Fats Vol. 1 - 3:22 - 160
  11. Back Bay Shuffle - Ella Fitzgerald - Live At The Savoy - 1939-40 - 4:14 - 185 (For Jon)
  12. Six-appeal - Charlie Christian - Six-appeal - 3:20 - 145
  13. Easy Does It - Paul Tillotson the Love Trio - Lindy Hop Blues - 2:57 - 130
  14. Exactly Like You - Carmen McRae - 135 - 2:11 - 135
  15. Sing On (Odessa Sing On) - Gaucho - Pearl - 5:07 - 135
  16. If You'se a Viper - John Sinclair - No Money Down - 3:55 - 150
  17. All Night Long - The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn - Permanent Magic - 2:48 - 170
  18. Sister Kate - Earl Hines & His Orchestra - Roots Of Jazz Scat Vocals - 3:05 - 99 (Trying to impress DJ Thor with this one)
  19. Solid As A Rock - Count Basie - Count Basie Et Son Orchestre 1950-1951 - 3:03 - 135
  20. Joshua Fit the Battle - Gordon Webster - Live In Philadelphia - 3:57 - 180 (Holy Moly does this track drive. Seemed like the room felt it too.)
  21. Big Apple Contest - The Solomon Douglas Swingtet - Swingmatism - 2:57 - 210 (I'd got it into my head that I wanted a Big Apple. We made it through the first half, through London Bridge, before people's memories petered out and it turned into more of a jam.)
  22. Tain't What You Do - Sy Oliver - Sy Oliver et son orchestre: 1949-1952 - 3:07 - 155 (Right into a shim-sham, to incorporate more dancers into the spectacle)
  23. I'm Alone Because I Love You - The Palmetto Bug Stompers - Live @ D.B.A. - 3:29 - 150 (and then try to get everyone in the room dancing)
  24. Knock Me a Kiss - Davina & The Vagabonds - Live @ the Times - 3:25 - 120
  25. St. James Infirmary - Hot Lips Page - CO38291 HARMONY-Ha1069 - 4:34 - 95
  26. Savoy Blues - Kenny Ball And His Jazzmen - Trad Jazz Masters - 3:53 - 135 (For the black bottomers)
  27. Shake That Thing - Willie Mabon - The Comeback - 3:33 - 120
  28. Rock Me All Night Long - The Fabulous Treniers - The Hoss Allen Sessions - 2:41 - 155
  29. Shortin' Bread - Fats Waller - The Unique Mr. Waller - 2:41 - 190 >(For Dan, who suggested a good note to end on)