One of the best books if you want to read about how to learn to dj is 'How to DJ Right: The Art and Science of Playing Records' by Frank Broughton and Bill Brewster.
They cover almost every aspect of what it takes to be a disc jockey, from technical aspects (which button to push) to how to read a dance crowd, building a collection, getting into the dj business and how to be a great dj.
The book has a lot of dry British humour. I love that. When the book was first published in Great Britain its name was 'How to DJ (properly): The Art and Science of Playing Records' but I'll guess that proper English wasn't right in USA.
You can find the British version of the book at the city library in Uppsala.
Have you read the book? What do you think of it? Tell me.
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Christina Aguilera has released a new album Back to basics where she is influenced by the music and fashion of the 1920s-40s. This can be seen in her video "Candy man", which seems to be set in WW2 times. It has several popular culture references to that time, Christina Aguilera does a 'We can do it' pose in the end of the video.
This is probably what Andrews sisters would do if they were alive today. In WW2 artists made what was called V-discs and they were sent overseas to boost the soldiers spirit. Candy man has some similarities with the song Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy which Andrews sisters made famous.
In the video you see some swing dancing (well, mostly aerials) with Christina Aguilera and Benji Schwimmer (who won season 2 of So You Think You Can Dance). I like the video because it has high energy and nice fashion.
Now, this is hardly straight swing, more like pop-styled boogie woogie, so I'm presenting this as a novelty item, I'll be back with regular swing tomorrow.
What do you think of Candy man with Christina Aguilera? Tell me.
Monday, February 26, 2007
Here is a smokin' hot version of Sweet Georgia Brown by Sidney Bechet from Cannes Jazz Festival 1958. The unusual thing about this video clip is that trumpet player Roy Eldridge plays the drums. Enjoy eight minutes of hot jazz!
This video clip introduced me to new (to me) musicians: Teddy Buckner (trumpet), Vic Dickenson (trombone), Sammy Price (piano) and Arvell Shaw (bass). I have to find out more about them.
What do you think of the video clip? Tell me.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
The jazz band Nkiru played at a concert yesterday at Katalin and all that jazz.
The concert was arranged by Uppsala Jazz Club.
The band played melodies by John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Don Cherry, Cole Porter and Ornette Coleman.
They also played one of their own compositions.
Band members: Andreas Larsson (drums), Niklas Fernqvist (bass), Jakob Gustavsson (saxophone) and Alexander Zethson (piano).
The photos are taken by me and may not be used elsewhere without my permission.
Where you at the concert? What did you think of it? Tell me.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
At the city library in Uppsala you can borrow 10 cds at a time. This gives you plenty of opportunities to check out music you are interested in. Be curious and test all kinds of music.
Here are some cds and books I have found at the library.
Have you found good music at the library? Tell me.
Friday, February 23, 2007
Here is a video clip with Benny Goodman playing "Roll 'Em" from the movie The Powers Girl and also some high energy dancing.
Here you really can talk about dancing in the rain! When the music is this good, you simply got to dance, no matter what.
This reminds me that I got to play Roll ´Em the next time I dj. What a great swinging tune. Yeah!
What do you think of the video clip? Tell me.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
The jazz group Nkiru will play at a concert at Katalin and all that jazz on Saturday the 24th, 14 o'clock.
Nkiru won the Youth Jazz Contest held by Uppsala Jazz Club in November last year and the first prize was a gig at Katalin.
The band plays in a modern jazz style and cites Wayne Shorter and Don Cherry as their inspiration.
Band members (left to right): Andreas Larsson (drums), Niklas Fernqvist (bass), Jakob Gustavsson (saxophone) and Alexander Zethson (piano).
This is not the kind of jazz I usually listen to, so attending the concert is a way to expand my horizon.
The photo is taken by me and may not be used elsewhere without my permission.
Have you heard them? What do you think? Tell me.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
When I dj I almost always feature a cd a little bit more and yesterday night at Dekadans I featured "Django Reinhardt Swing Sessions 2".
I like the first tracks of the cd best when Django Reinhardt plays with Bill Coleman And His Orchestra. There are two great versions of "Baby Won't You Please Come Home" and I also really like "Swing Guitars".
If you like swing music with violins you will get your share on this cd. You can borrow this cd at the city library in Uppsala. Also check out the record label Frog records for more early jazz.
Have you listened to this cd? What do you think? Tell me.
I gave away two mix cds in the music contest, the answer to the question was "Rémi Toulon on piano".
What did you think of the music last night? Tell me.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Frankie Manning is interviewed in the latest podcast of Yehoodi radio about his upcoming autobiography: Frankie Manning: Ambassador of Lindy Hop.
In the interview Frankie tells some stories from his life, he talks about segregation and when he was enlisted in world war II. Despite such serious topics he somehow always stays positive, laughing like just he can.
Since Frankie also has sold movie rights for book, he also talks little about who might play him in a movie. (Update: That's a joke, folks, don't start any rumors)
The segment starts 14:30 into the podcast, if you want to jump directly to the interview, it's 18:45.
Download the podcast (22 MB, mp3)
Preorder Frankie Mannings autobiography from Amazon.
Read my earlier post about the Frankie Manning book.
What do you think after listening to the interview? Tell me.
Monday, February 19, 2007
I'm djing at Dekadans tomorrow and I'll be playing some newly found hot stuff mixed in with well proven solid swing music. Come and dance!
Win a cd!
At the Uppsala Winter Camp I made some swing music mix cds that was played at the workshop locations in the breaks. Since there were four locations I have some cds that are left over. Hence: a small contest!
1) You got to answer a question correctly and mail the answer to me.
2) You must be able to pick up the cd tomorrow at Dekadans.
At the jazz festival Uppsala Winter Swing there were a musician from France, what is his name and what instrument does he play? (Hint: find the answer in a blog about swing, jazz and blues)
Send your answers to email@example.com and I'll draw two winners at the dance.
See you tomorrow!
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Swing Mon Amour played at Uppsala Winter Swing jazz festival in January. They play jazz in a Django Reinhardt kind of style.
I liked their versions of Minor Swing and Stompin' at the Savoy.
Hampus Andersson and Anton Svanberg plays the guitar while Gustaf Gunér plays bass.
Does anyone know if they have a website? Tell me if they have one and I'll link there.
The photo is taken by me and may not be used elsewhere without my permission.
Did you see Swing Mon Amour at Uppsala Winter Swing? What did you think of them? Tell me.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Swing Dancer Magazine is a online publication dedicated to swing dancing and has 4-5 issues a year. The magazine is written by dancers for dancers. One of the magazines missions is to "capture history as it is made in around the globe". This means that they often has interesting articles about other dance scenes in other countries.
The current issue contains these articles (and more):
More articles are available in their archive.
What do you think of Swing Dancer Magazine? Tell me.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Last Friday it was time for the World Swing DJ Championships which took place at the dance camp Goodnight Sweetheart in Great Britain. The competition is judged by the dancers at the event.
They are instructed to look for the following in the DJs:
- Music selection and interaction of various styles, era's etc.
- Stage Presence
- Appearance, self-confidence, showmanship & sportsmanship
- Does the music keep the dancers " a boppin'' or " a stoppin"
It would be fun to participate. I think a little competitiveness can make the djs pull out their best stuff. But performing well in a competition means just that, you're good at competing, it's different from djing a whole night. Still, both formats are about entertaining, making sure that the dancers and the listeners have a good time enjoying themselves. That doesn't change even if the format changes. You've got to entertain.
This year there were swing disc jockeys from USA, UK, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Norway, Belgium and France. The winner was Jamie from the UK.
Maybe I'll be there next year?
Goodnight Sweetheart is organised by the fantastic couple Joseph Sewell and Trisha Purville at jiveswing.com.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
A while ago I wrote about the Hey Mr Jesse Podcast Show where Jesse Miner and Manu Smith talks about swing music.
Now a new podcast for February is available.
They interview Barbara Morrison and also list some songs for Valentines day (as I did a couple of days ago). The songs they list are a little bit on the naughty and risque side.
When I dj I sometimes slip a song like that into the mix just to see if people are listening to the lyrics. You can see in the dancers and the listeners eyes and and in their smiles (or blushes) if they have understood what the song is really about.
Read the notes from the podcast show to see all the contents of the show.
Jesse and Manu were very kind to mention this blog and also tried to figure out the right pronunciation of "Uppsala". If you are reading this; You got it right, of course with an American accent but close enough.
What is your favorite risque swing/blues song? Tell me.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
In September 2006 Sweden Balboa Weekend took place in Uppsala. It was an all balboa camp and we had invited some of the best balboa instructors and dancers in the world: Valerie Salstrom & Marty Klempner and Mia Goldsmith and Yoshi Uemura.
At the Friday night party we arranged an Invitational Jack'n'Jill-competition, where all the instructors participated. Here is a video clip of Mia & Marty dancing incredibly smooth balboa. I'm going to steal some of these moves!
The video clip is posted on Youtube by Mia's dance partner Peter Loggins, he has posted a ton of good dance clips. Don't open that link while you are at work (you will get stuck), unless your work is to archive dance material, that is.
The music they are dancing to is "Taps Miller" by Count Basie (Columbia, 1944) available in the collection "America's #1 Band: The Columbia Years" (cd 3, track 12).
What do you think of this video clip? Tell me.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Tomorrow is Valentines day so here is some tips on swing and jazz songs that will put you in to a romantic mood.
- Lets do it by Billie Holiday
- Peel me a grape by Diana Krall
- Love me or leave me by Sammy Davis Jr
- They cant take away from me by Frank Sinatra
- L-o-v-e by Natalie Cole
- Somebody loves me by Bill Elliot Swing Orchestra
- I love being here with you by Barbara Morrison
- My Funny Valentine by Chet Baker
- Deed I do by Ella Fitzgerald
- As long as I live by Ernestine Anderson
What is your favorite swing song about love? Tell me.
Monday, February 12, 2007
Frankie Manning: Ambassador of Lindy Hop is a autobiography about Frankie Manning who is a living legend in the world of lindy hop. This 350 page book will tell about his life and his career and I think it will be an important piece in the history of swing dancing. The book is written together with Cynthia Millman.
The biography will be released in April/May but you can preorder it now if you want to get it as soon as it becomes available.
Update: Read my book review here.
If you don't want to wait that long to read about that era, I recommend that you get the book Swinging At The Savoy The Memoir of a Jazz Dancer by Norma Miller who also danced in the show troupe Whitey's Lindy Hoppers.
Temple University Press lists the contents of "Frankie Manning: Ambassador of Lindy Hop":
Foreword: Mercedes Ellington
Frankie Manning: An Appreciation by Cynthia R. Millman
Prologue: Too Stiff
PART ONE: EARLY STEPS (1914-circa 1933)
Chapter 1. Jazz Baby
Chapter 2. Early Ballroom Forays
PART TWO: SAVOY DANCER (circa 1933-1936)
Chapter 3. To the Savoy at Last
Chapter 4. Whitey, Shorty, and Stretch
Chapter 5. Win Win
Chapter 6. Up in the Air She Goes
PART THREE: WHITEY'S LINDY HOPPERS (1936-1943)
Chapter 7. Going Pro
Chapter 8. Big Time at the Cotton Club
Chapter 9. A Big Apple for Whitey
Chapter 10. On Broadway and In the Movies
Chapter 11. Stranded in Rio
PART FOUR: WAR AND HOME (1943-1984)
Chapter 12. Dancer Interrupted
Chapter 13. The Congaroo Dancers and a Day Job
PART FIVE: SECOND ACT (1984-present)
Chapter 14. Revival
A. Frankie Manning Timeline
B. Biographies of Lindy Hoppers
C. List of Works Cited or Consulted
C. Frankie's List of Swing Dance on Film/TV
D. Swing Dance Resources
E. Swing Dance Organizations and Events Index
What are your thoughts about this book? Tell me.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Karl Olandersson Quartet played at a concert at Katalin and all that jazz in Uppsala. This was the first concert for the season arranged by Uppsala Jazz Club.
The quartet consists of Karl Olandersson (trumpet and song), Mathias Algotsson (piano), Clas Lassbo (bass) and Mattias Puttonen (drums).
Karl Olandersson reminds a lot of Chet Baker because he is a young talented trumpet player that plays cool jazz. I guess he must hear that all the time (but hey, he looks like Chet Baker as well). Anyone would like to play trumpet like this guy. Great phrasing!
The songs where kind of cool jazz, most of them in a laid back style but still swinging thanks to the rhythm section. They played a couple of blues songs that were a little bit more uptempo. I really liked the way Mathias Algotsson played the piano.
They played their own versions of Caravan and Stardust.
By popular demand Karl Olandersson sang in the extra number "This is the end of a beautiful friendship" even though he said his throat was a little bit sore. Great execution of that song. All in all, a very good concert.
All photos are taken by me and may not be used elsewhere without my permission.
Where you at the concert? What did you think?
Saturday, February 10, 2007
What is a jazz standard? One definition is:
A "jazz standard" is a composition that is held in continuing esteem and is commonly used as the basis of jazz arrangements or improvisations.
A fantastic place to learn more about jazz standards is http://www.jazzstandards.com/.
There you can learn all about:
- the composers who wrote the jazz standard
- the writer of lyrics
- the history behind the song
- how the melody is built musically with chord progressions
- cds where you can find this particular jazz standard
- biographies of composers and performers
What is your favorite jazz standard? Tell me.
Friday, February 9, 2007
Uppsala Jazz Club has just released its program for spring 2007 with concerts that will take place Saturdays at Katalin and all that jazz. It looks like it will be all kinds of jazz: traditional (hot) jazz with Fyris Jazz Band, 50's Basie style with Sandviken Big Band and Claes Jansson and also more modern jazz styles.
The first jazz concert of the season will be tomorrow Sat 10th, when Karl Olandersson Quartet plays. Karl Olandersson plays trumpet and sings. Also in the quartet: Mathias Algotsson (piano), Clas Lassbo (bass) and Mattias Puttonen (drums).
The concert starts at 14 o'clock. Tickets are bought at the door and costs 220 kr (190 kr if you are a member of Uppsala Jazz Club or has a UNT-card).
Some of you may recognize that one of my pictures of Nkiru from the Youth Jazz Contest is in the program. The first prize in the contest was a concert at Katalin. Nkiru will play Feb 24th.
I've been invited to report from all concerts so you can expect stories och photos all through the spring.
The picture of Karl Olandersson is taken from his website.
Thursday, February 8, 2007
This is the fourth part of an interview with Ralph G. Giordano who recently published his book Social Dancing in America: A History and Reference Volume 2 Lindy Hop to Hip Hop, 1901-2000.
[Part 1: How come you wrote a book about social dancing in America?]
[Part 2: Which dances do you write about in the book? ]
[Part 3: Can you share some interesting facts about Lindy hop?]
Part 4: Do you include Balboa in the book?
Yes, the Balboa is included on pp 103-104 in a chapter section titled: "The Golden Age of Dance Pavilions and the "Queen of Swing". In preparing the general list some dances were omitted, but are included in the book and easily found through the index.
"The Rendezvous Ballroom opened in 1928 with a 12,000 square foot dance floor with a capacity of 1,500 dancing couples. It, like so many ballrooms, suffered through a devastating fire in January 1935. It was quickly rebuilt as the swing and dance craze was spreading nationwide. The Rendezvous was known for developing a unique dance known as the Balboa.
The Balboa was a versatile dance that could be done to very slow or fast music. It could be done on a crowded dance floor since it required little space. Located near a beach, the Rendezvous was a popular destination for teenagers and college students during the spring break. They could combine a day at the beach and dancing to top name swing bands until 1:00 a.m.
On June 18, 1938, a local radio personality Al Poska organized a seven-day non-stop Big Band dance marathon that attracted nationwide media attention. The promotional event to celebrate the end of the school year was covered by LOOK magazine, a widely read mass-media magazine. Within the article they nicknamed the Rendezvous Ballroom the "Queen of Swing."
Have you read this book? What do you think? Tell me.
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
Last night Elin and Jonas were djs at Dekadans. They had to leave a little bit early so I filled in and djed some songs.
I played, among other songs, Hoy hoy by Cab Calloway and East Side Jive by Big Rude Jake.
The photo shows the nice environment at Västgöta nation where the club is located. If you haven't been here I recommend a visit. The photo is taken by me and may not be used elsewhere without my permission.
Where you there? What do you think of the evening? Tell me.
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
Don't miss the swing dance at Dekadans tonight.
Elin Sandström and Jonas Brunnström are djing. Bust the moves that you learnt at the Uppsala Winter Camp.
I really like their new poster, definitely 1920s style.
Phontrattarne is certainly one of the best big bands for dancing in Uppsala. They have played at the Nobel Prize party the last two years.
They played a lot of good songs and I particularly enjoyed their versions of "King Porter Stomp" , "School days" and "Down For Double". Phontrattarne is a fun band because the musicians don't just sit still and play the music, oh no, when there is spare time they get a little animated so they are great band visually as well.
Here is a picture from Saturday night taken by me . The photo may not be used elsewhere without my permission.
Were you at the Saturday dance? What did you think of the evening? Tell me.
Monday, February 5, 2007
I haven't posted anything the last couple of days because I've been busy doing all sorts of things at the Uppsala Winter Camp, Swingkatten's annual camp with lindy hop and balboa.
About creating energy
Mostly I was in charge of the of the lighting during the evenings and the dinner show at Saturday. I also put together a small light show for the presentation of the instructors Saturday morning. The idea was to give the teachers a rock star welcome and create some energy that would give the camp a good start. I think it went well considering that there was not much time to brief the instructors what was going to happen. If you were there, please tell me what you thought of it. If you happen to have a video clip of it I would be very thankful if you could send it to me.
Saturday night was a blast, the band Phontrattarne was really swinging with a full big band sound. I was inspired by them when I djed the late night shift.
The best compliment
A person that I really respect as a dancer and person came up to me after my set and I got the best compliment a swing disc jockey can get:
"I tried to leave but you kept playing such good music that I had to stay another song, and another, just one more song... Now I will be too tired for tomorrows classes. It's your fault! Thank you!".
Keeping people on the dance floor even though they are too tired, that is one of my ambitions when I dj, when they do, I know I must be doing something right. Creating energy on the dance floor is what it's all about. Hearing comments like that is what keeps me djing.
If you were at the Uppsala Winter Camp and have comments about the songs I played I would be very interested in hearing what you thought of them.
Thursday, February 1, 2007
Today the large dance camp in Uppsala starts: Uppsala Winter Camp. Tonight there will be a taster lesson in balboa with Jonas & Jennie and then a small workshop with Peter Loggins followed by djing by Mohan Pakkurti at Drabanten.
Tomorrow the band GNQ (George Nistor Quartet) will play at the welcoming party at Grand (starts at 20). Entrance fee: 80 kr.
During the camp I'll be responsible for all things that concerns lighting but I'll also dj some sets (not yet decided when).