Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fizz setlist 7/20/2009

I had the late set at Fizz last night, starting around 11 p.m. after Tim Gault's early set. I felt like my set was a bit stale on the whole. I think I need to shake up my habits a bit.

Here's my set list (bpm sparkline and distribution):
  1. Hey, Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - Lionel Hampton - Lionel Hampton Story 3: Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop - 3:21 - 140 (Started out with a birthday jam for Lish and Allen. The average tempo for the first set was pretty fast, so for the first song of the next set, I chose a slower track with a distinctive, bluesy sound to try and grab people.)
  2. Southern sunset - Swing Parade South - Hommage a Sidney Bechet - 3:32 - 105
  3. Splanky - The Solomon Douglas Swingtet - Live at the Legion - 4:31 - 135 (Off Solomon's new album.)
  4. Down south camp meeting - Svend Asmussen - Still Fiddling - 3:41 - 145
  5. My Bucket's Got A Hole In It - Papa Bues Viking Jazzband - Live In Copenhagen - 3:36 - 135
  6. Chant Of The Groove - Fats Waller - Fats Waller 1941 - 3:05 - 185 (I had a request for some Fats, though I was thinking of playing this anyways.)
  7. Rockin' in Rythm - The Solomon Douglas Swingtet - Live at the Legion - 3:06 - 197
  8. Sure, Had A Wonderful Time - Louis Jordan - Louis Jordan And His Tympani Five, Volume 1 - 3:00 - 135
  9. Keepin' Out A Mishif Now - Carling Family - 20th Jubilee - 3:32 - 120 (During this song I got a request for Ernestine Anderson, so I used Joe Williams to transition.)
  10. Just A Sittin' And A Rockin' - Joe Williams - Havin' A Good Time - 4:21 - 120
  11. Never Make Your Move Too Soon - Ernestine Anderson - Never Make Your Move Too Soon - 3:31 - 120 (I couldn't tell if the room wanted more of this sort of sound, so I decided to keep it slower but move to a jazzier style with Billie Holiday.)
  12. They Can't Take That Away From Me - Billie Holiday - First Issue: Great American Song Book - 4:10 - 110
  13. When My Sugar Walks Down The Street - Oscar Peterson - With Respect To Nat - 2:22 - 125
  14. Stay Cool - Count Basie - Blues By Basie/One O'Clock Jump - 3:12 - 155
  15. When I Take My Sugar to Tea - The Boilermaker Jazz Band - Jump for Joy - 4:00 - 165 (I wanted to play the Boilermakers right at the top of my set, as a promo for the upcoming White Night dance that Riley is throwing. Decided against it though, and it took me until here to slip this track in.)
  16. Dinah - One Leg Up - Pere Lachaise - 4:31 - 205 (Mixing up the styles here, I threw in a track from this gypsy jazz group from Asheville, North Carolina. Check 'em out here. It's kind of Django-ish, but with a bluegrass/acoustic folk tinge.)
  17. Six Appeal - Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five - Crazy Rhythm - 3:29 - 135
  18. Why Don't You Do Right (Peggy Lee, Vocals) - Benny Goodman - Benny Goodman - 3:17 - 125
  19. Big Fine Daddy - Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers - Everybody's Talkin' 'Bout Miss Thing! - 4:06 - 120
  20. Easy Does It - Count Basie - America's #1 Band - 3:29 - 145 (The mood in the room at this point seemed kind of mellow to me--I tried to keep the music a little on the mellow side too. Not sure if that was the right call, or if it meant I was throwing in the towel for the night, with no hope of packing the floor from this point on.)
  21. Me, Myself And I - Billie Holiday - A Musical Romance - 2:37 - 155
  22. My Blue Heaven - Stuff Smith - Swingin' Stuff - 3:46 - 160
  23. Taking a Chance on Love - Anita O'Day - Anita Sings the Most - 2:24 - 135
  24. Ain't She Sweet - Jimmie Lunceford - Jimmie Lunceford - 2:28 - 145 (Continuing the mellow feel, gradually moving up the tempo.)
  25. It's You Who Taught It To Me - Fats Waller - The Unique Mr. Waller - 2:42 - 160
  26. I'se Muggin' - Django Reinhardt - Django Reinhardt 1: Swing Guitars - 3:07 - 170
  27. Honeysuckle Rose - Twin Cities Hot Club - Twin Cities Hot Club - 4:47 - 140 (I thought the folks in the room at this point might like something a little more jumpy or even neo, so I picked out a Four Charms track as a transition...)
  28. Midnight At The Mill - The Four Charms - Flatland Boogie - 3:55 - 154 (...but then didn't really have anything to follow up with.)
  29. Fine Looking Woman - B.B. King - The Early "Blues Boy" Years - 2:19 -110
  30. Soothe Me - The Simms Twins - Sam Cooke's SAR Records Story: 1959 - 1965 (Disc 2) - 2:17 - 110
  31. Blues for Stephanie - Paul Tillotson the Love Trio - Lindy Hop Blues - 4:29 - 130
  32. Some of These Days - Billie & DeDe Pierce - Gulf Coast Blues - 2:38 - 150 (This one was for Jenna.)
  33. On the Sunny Side of the Street - Kermit Ruffins - Putumayo Presents: Kermit Ruffins - 5:10 - 110
  34. Smile - Asylum Street Spankers - My Favorite Record - 3:54 - 140 (Yeah I know it's not really a good song to swing out to, but I thought it might lead to people to walk out feeling chipper and maybe humming.)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Norma Miller

Back in May, Mary (my wife) and I and some friends participated in a show organized by our friend Reggio "The Hoofer" McLaughlin in honor of National Tap Day. It was a variety show extravaganza at the Old Town School of Folk Music, and the star was none other than the Queen of Swing herself, Norma Miller. The night before the show, she came to Big City Swing for a little story time hour.; then during rehearsal the following day, we got to talk with Norma a little bit. She's really something else. When she's on stage or even in front of the crowd at Big City, there's no doubt in anyone's mind that she's a star performer--man she just knows how to ENTERTAIN people. As the finale to the show, she sang her song "Swingin' Frankie's Way" (here's a video of her performing the same number at the Frankie 95 celebration). My friends and I were all star-struck.

(Mary, James, Norma, Chris, Roxy, Dan, and Sheila,
backstage before the National Tap Day Extravaganza, May 16th, 2009)

Friday, July 17, 2009

New album from the Solomon Douglas Swingtet

Just got through listening to the new album from the Solomon Douglas Swingtet, called Live at the Legion. I'm very impressed and itching to start spinning it at dances. It's a live recording, so the tunes all have a great energy to them, and they're designed to be dancer-friendly. I'm sure the Fizz crowd is going to dig a lot of the tracks, especially "Splanky," "South," and "East St. Louis Toodle-Oo."

As on the his previous album Swingmatism, Solomon draws on classic jazz tunes from the best bands in history, including many that swing dancers are sure to be familiar with. Solomon arranged all the tracks on the album based on recordings from the Count Basie Orchestra, Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton, and others. He seems to have focused on two different eras. First, there are a number of tracks from the New Testament 1950's/60's/70's period of both Basie and Ellington: tunes like "Splanky" and "I Needs to Be Bee'd With" that I tend to think of more appealing to dancers that like groovy tunes. "Splanky" is taken at a nice, comfortable clip, not too slow, full of energy and featuring a nice tenor sax solo from Galen Green.

The other period that Solomon focuses on is the early swing era, from 1928 to the early 30's, with arrangements like "South" (based on a Bennie Moten tune), "East St. Louis Toodle-Oo" (from Duke Ellington), and "Singin' the Blues Till My Daddy Comes Home" (for which Solomon cites both a Beiderbecke/Trumbauer recording from 1927 and a Fletcher Henderson recording from 1931). It's really great to have some fresh recordings of old tunes like these with good, crisp recording quality. I LOVE early Duke Ellington, but I just can't play the original recording of "East St. Louis Toodle-Oo" at a dance--the sound quality would be too much of a turn-off for most of the crowd. Speculating here, but these choices seem to be following the broader trend among bands (as on George Gee's latest album "If Dreams Come True") of exploring music that was popular during the earlier part of the swing era, and among many dancers who seem to have become interested in a broader range of music (one favorite example: this routine uses music from a 1929 recording by Margaret Webster and Clarence Williams).

All in all, a great outing from the Swingtet, a solid addition to any DJ's book, and an album I'd recommend to dancers for their personal collections--it even includes a BPM for each track. It makes me really eager to hear this group live at a dance...