Saturday, October 31, 2009

Upcoming events

Here's your heads-up/advance warning...

Next weekend I'm DJing all over the place, practically all weekend long.
  • Friday night (11/6) I'll be at Big City Swing for their First Friday Dance, which is back to TWO floors this month! My friend Jason and I will be upstairs, Nathan will be downstairs. Beginner lesson at 8:00 p.m., dancing 8:45-12:00. $10.
  • Saturday night (11/7) I'll be at the First Free Church dance, trading tunes with my friend Chris (a.k.a., "The Man with the Middles"). Beginner lesson at 7:00 p.m., dancing 7:30-10:00 or later. Free.
  • Monday night (11/9) I'll be at Fizz for the late shift. Chris has the early set--hopefully we won't be sick of each other by then. Special beginner lesson at 8:00 p.m., dancing 9:00-1:00. $6.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fizz setlist 10/19/2009

Interesting time at Fizz last night. Doberman had the early shift (which is a bit unusual). Starting about 10:40, we traded pairs of songs, which was fun and kept me on my toes. He started out in a bluesy mood with Ruthie Foster's "Death Came a-Knockin'", which has intense vocals and a sparse arrangement, then another blues song. I followed up with 1 & 2 below. He responded with two tunes from a Hungarian Dixieland jazz band--I'll have to get the exact name from him. I responded with more Dixie for number 3, then some Louis Armstrong. He finished out with "Hymn to Freedom" played by some artist other than Oscar Peterson. I kicked off my set proper with #5, a classic small-group session that is jazzy but not overly energetic--I didn't want to shock people too much.

As I was DJing last night I kept thinking, Oh man, all these songs are all mellow/minor/bluesy-sounding--I should really play some "brighter"-sounding stuff. But I kept coming back to mellow and minor. Not as much variety as I would have liked, but it seemed to fit the room. (Maybe my perception was colored by my mood?) I also got several requests for some up-tempo or "balboa tempo" music, which is pretty amazing. Happy to oblige.

Set list below. Here's the bpm sparkline and frequency distribution.
  1. Your Mind Is On Vacation - Lyambiko - Shades Of Delight - 3:31 - 120
  2. Shotgun Boogie - Paul Tillotson the Love Trio - Lindy Hop Blues - 2:55 - 165
  3. Give My Regards To Broadway - Pete Fountain - Dixieland's Kings - 2:37 - 170
  4. Honeysuckle Rose - Louis Armstrong - Satch Plays Fats - 2:56 - 170
  5. Ain't Misbehavin' - Benny Goodman - Benny Goodman et son orchestre: 1945 Vol.2 - 2:47 - 120 (First song of my proper set. Starting out chill so as not to shock people after "Hymn to Freedom." From here, I start a slow build.)
  6. Down south camp meeting - Svend Asmussen - Still Fiddling - 3:41 - 145
  7. Stay Cool - Count Basie - Blues By Basie-One O'Clock Jump - 3:12 - 155
  8. Rhythm Itch - Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five - Moppin' and Boppin' - 3:11 - 170 (The build doesn't last very long. The room seemed to need a breath about here, so I slowed it down.)
  9. How'dja Like To Love Me? - Maxine Sullivan - The Lady's In Love With You - 2:58 - 130
  10. My Daddy Rocks Me - Benny Goodman - Benny Goodman et son orchestre: 1945 Vol.2 - 2:48 - 100
  11. On The Sunny Side of the Street - Benny Goodman - The Yale University Archives, Volume 3: Big Band In Europe - 3:11 - 135 (I decided here to play some old school music. Tutti Frutti transitions to some dark-sounding late 30's/early 40's jazz.)
  12. Tutti Frutti - Slim Gaillard - 1938-46 - 2:38 - 170
  13. Ochi Chornya - Wingy Manone (trompette) Et Son Orchestre - Wingy Manone: 1940-1944 - 2:54 - 165
  14. Perdido Street Blues - Louis Armstrong - The Complete Decca Studio Master Takes 1940-1949 - 3:08 - 145 (I try to brighten the mood with the next one, but then right after that I decide that I really want to play Summertime--back to mellow and bluesy.)
  15. Solid As A Rock - Ella Fitzgerald - Swingin' Ella - 3:00 - 145
  16. Summertime - Gordon Webster - Happy When I'm With You - 4:04 - 120
  17. Midnight At The Mill - The Four Charms - The Four Charms - Flatland Boogie - 3:55 - 154
  18. Rumble - Sy Oliver - Yes Indeed - 3:55 - 130 (Trying to inject some higher-energy stuff in with 18 through 21. In retrospect, 19 was a poor choice.)
  19. Pennies From Heaven - Dinah Washington - Mixed Emotions - 2:19 - 155
  20. Let The Good Times Roll - Helen Humes - Let The Good Times Roll - 3:02 - 155
  21. Chicken Shack - Pinetop Perkins - Ladies Man - 4:28 - 115 (...but then back to bluesy-sounding with Earl Grant.)
  22. Sermonette - Earl Grant - Singin' & Swingin': The Best Of Earl Grant - 2:42 - 125
  23. Life Begins When You're In Love - Billie Holiday - Lady Day: The Master Takes And Singles - 3:02 - 180
  24. A Viper's Moan - Mora's Modern Rhythmists - Call Of The Freaks - 3:30 - 140
  25. It's You Who Taught It To Me - Fats Waller - The Unique Mr. Waller - 2:42 - 160
  26. Harlem Shout - Jimmie Lunceford - Jimmie Lunceford - 3:02 - 195 (People were spontaneously clapping along with this one. I took that as a good sign and pushed the tempo even more.)
  27. Swingtime in the Rockies - Bernard Berkhout's Swing Orchestra - nieuw album_41 - 3:15 - 220 (This was one of those borderline-jam situations, where the DJ needs to decided whether to push it and get people to jam, or lay off and get everyone back on the floor. I opted for the latter, though it was close.)
  28. Rose Room - Artie Shaw - Artie Shaw, King Of The Clarinet - 2:43 - 155
  29. Splanky - The Solomon Douglas Swingtet - Live at the Legion - 4:31 - 135
  30. Who Walks In When I Walk Out? - Louis Armstrong - The Wonderful Duets - 2:21 - 135
  31. I Can't Believe That You're in Love With Me - Sidney Bechet - Jazz in Paris: Sydney Bechet et Claude Luter - 2:40 - 145
  32. The Back Room Romp - Duke Ellington - The Duke's Men: The Small Groups, Vol. 1 - 2:49 - 150
  33. Chant Of The Groove - Fats Waller - Fats Waller 1941 - 3:05 - 185 (I still can't get enough of this song.)
  34. Buzz-Buzz-Buzz - Jimmie Lunceford - Jimmie Lunceford - 2:27 - 160
  35. Man from Mars 205 - Artie Shaw - Artie Shaw, King Of The Clarinet - 2:19 - 205 (I cut this version from 4 minutes down to 2 to use for a routine--I think it worked out well for the social dancers too.)
  36. 9:20 Special - Engelbert Wröbel's Swing Society - Sophisticated Swing - 4:00 - 175
  37. Sassy's Blues - Sarah Vaughan - Sarah Vaughan's finest hour - 5:37 - 130
  38. My First Impression of You - Chu Berry - Classic Chu Berry Columbia and Victor Sessions - 2:52 - 145

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Annette Hanshaw - Lovable and Sweet

Available on Amazon, EMusic, and iTunes.

"...Watch your husbands, ladies, 'cuz here's Annette Hanshaw with a complexion like peaches and a voice like smooth honey..." (This is how the announcer introduces Hanshaw's vocal here.)

This track was recommended by Steven in Norway and also (independently) by my friend Jason. The tune is sung by Annette Hanshaw, a very popular female singer from the 1920's. I'd never heard of her before. This isn't exactly the jazz that you're used to--it sits on the borderline between early jazz and the "pop" music of that era--though there are a lot of jazz inflections in it. It's also not exactly what I would call swing dancing music, though it does make me want to dance. Maybe a nice foxtrot with some improvising during the horn, sax, and trombone solos. However you classify it though, I'm basically a sucker for this sort of music. When I heard Annette Hanshaw's voice, I was captivated immediately. Hook, line, and sinker. It's charming, nuanced, and also kind of wily--like a girl who knows a lot more than you about the ways of the world, but doesn't go parading it around.

At least in my scene, I would only play this at a dance if I knew that the crowd was receptive and the mood called for it. But that said, I think that since this style of music was part of the milieu of the jazz era, it's not only appropriate for dancing, it's actually enriching, a good challenge for people, and a pleasant change of mood. Foxtrot and ballroom/"society" dances preceded the swing dances, and they were part of the culture into which lindy hop was born. There's only two leaders in our scene (that I know of at least) who will lead a foxtrot when the music calls for it. I wish there were more.

On a completely different note, there must be something about Annette Hanshaw in the air right now. Jason told me about this very peculiar film called Sita Sings the Blues, which makes use of Annette Hanshaw's music to re-tell an ancient Hindu epic story called the Ramayana and the story of how the film's creator was rejected by her husband. The way the story sets up and uses the musical numbers, and the way those numbers are animated, is pretty amusing. It's an odd little movie. You can watch it all on Youtube (here).