The first Friday each month there is "After Work Jazz" at Hotel Uppsala. Yesterday Daniel Lantz Trio featuring Staffan Hallgren (flute) and Emily McEwan (song) played there. This is a perfect way to end the week: listening to great music, eat from the buffé and just relax.
The Daniel Lantz Trio consists of Daniel Lantz (piano), Mattias Åström (bass) and Daniel Olsson (drums).
The photographs are taken by me and may not be used elsewhere without my permission.
Were you at After Work Jazz? What did you think of the Daniel Lantz Trio? Tell me.
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Friday, March 30, 2007
A while ago I wrote about a PBS documentary about soundies. In the trailer for the documentary I spotted a soundie that I really liked: the song Man, That's Groovy with Jimmy Dorsey and singer Helen O'Connell. Enjoy this video clip.
In "Man, That's Groovy" Helen O'Connell sings about the slang words used in the 1930s called jive talk.
All the cats are solid senders and especially Jimmy Dorsey when he takes off with his clarinet. Helen O'Connell is a solid canary and this song makes me want to be a rug cutter. Jack, do you collar this jive?
If that last paragraph was hard to understand, you should check out Cab Calloways jive dictionary.
What do you think of this video clip with Jimmy Dorsey and Helen O'Connell? Tell me.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Yesterday I attended a presentation of the new consert and congress hall in Uppsala: Uppsala Konsert & Kongress, also known as Musikens hus (House of Music). The meeting was arranged by Musikens Hus vänner (Friends of House of Music).
The building of a new concert and congress hall has been debated a long time but now the building is soon completed. In a couple of months time they are ready to move in and it will be inaugurated September 1st.
Magnus Bäckström (CEO), Cecilia Jordan (Congress project manager) and Göran Persson (CMO) presented what is happening right now and what will happen once the building is inaugurated.
All people from Uppsala Konsert & Kongress radiated with enthusiasm and passion for the house and they seemed to have a great time working together. This will become a great creative meeting spot in Uppsala. Although there are some concerns,
I would dare to say that this is the best thing that has happened in Uppsala in over a decade. I'm excited and can't wait till it's finished.
As part of the evening Musikens hus vänner awarded two young musicians with a scolarship. One of them was trumpeter Henrik Grim (also seen at Youth Jazz Contest as a member of the Silver Sextett). Henrik Grim played a classical piece and then the jazz standard Autumn Leaves.
The scholarships was handed over by the chairman of Musikens hus vänner: Ola Carlsson. Unfortunately I didn't catch the name of the flute player that also got awarded, please tell me her name.
The photos are taken by me and may not be used elsewhere without my permission.
What do you think of Uppsala Konsert & Kongress? Tell me.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
There is no swing dance at Dekadans tonight, so I'm posting a photograph from last week when Ulf Carling was swing dj at Dekadans. But next week it's a dance as usual.
The photo is taken by me and may not be used elsewhere without my permission. If you like, please take a look at my jazz photography.
Were you at Dekadans last week? What did you think of the beginners night? Tell me.
Here is some tips about how you can get the most out of this blog. Try them!
- Search the site
- Browse the archive
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If there is something specific you want to find out about you can search for it in the box to the right side of the page.
There is quite a lot of blog posts in the archive which you can browse.
Notice that you can expand/collapse the monthly archives in the right column by clicking on the arrow next to the month.
If you click on the name of a month you will find a page with all that months post collected at one page.
I tag each post with labels that describes the content. If a post for example has the label "Count Basie" you can click that link to go to a page with all the posts about Count Basie.
Each post has a small Amazon.com advertisement. What is shown is based on a keyword that I have selected manually that fits the topic.
For example: If the post is about Ella Fitzgerald, two of her cds will be featured in the bottom of the post.
Which of her cd that is shown will change each time you reload the page. This is useful if you want to discover cds or books related to the topic in the post.
When I write the posts I try to give you as much information as possible. Often I link to products or lists at Amazon.com where you can find out more.
I also frequently link to Wikipedia, The Internet Movie Database and especially YouTube (that's a goldmine!).
Sometimes I link the same phrase to different sources, so be sure to check out each link.
What do you think of these tips? Do you have any other tips that I should mention? How do you use the blog? Tell me.
Monday, March 26, 2007
I was inspired by MaryAnne's (ysabellabrave's) singing of Let's Misbehave at YouTube, so I started looking around after other versions of that jazz song. It didn't take long before I found a video clip of Christopher Walken tap dancing in the movie Pennies from Heaven.
Christopher Walken really shows off what it means to misbehave. His tap dancing is real but he mimes to the song which is really performed by Irving Aaronson and His Commanders. "Let's Misbehave" is written by Cole Porter. The film Pennies from Heaven is from 1981 and is directed by Steve Martin.
If you want to see more of Christopher Walken dancing, you should see him in the music video for Fatboy Slims song Weapon Of Choice.
What do you think of this video clip with Christopher Walken from Pennies from Heaven? Tell me.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Yesterday singer Vivian Buczek and the Claes Crona Trio featuring Johan Hörlen (saxophone) played at a concert at Katalin and all that jazz. The concert was arranged by Uppsala Jazz Club.
The Claes Crona Trio consists of Claes Crona (piano), Jörgen Smeby (bass) och Petur ”Island” Östlund (drums).
Some examples of what they played: "To Close For Comfort", "Bluesette", the standard written by Toots Thielemans and Love For Sale (by Cole Porter). They also played a song with latin influences from Vivian Buczeks coming album "Straight from my heart".
The photos are taken by me and may not be used elsewhere without my permission. Watch some other jazz photography by me.
Were you at the concert at Katalin? What do you think of Vivian Buczek and Claes Crona? Tell me.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
When you get home late at night from an evening out dancing, you just want to chill out listening to some mellow jazz. Here is three jazz songs by norwegian jazz singer Silje Nergaard.
The first video clip with Silje Nergaard is Be Still My Heart from the album At First Light. I really like the visual style of this video and the trumpet playing is just magical. Enjoy!
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered from the album Port of Call:
Two Sleepy People from the album At First Light:
If you like these songs, you should pre-order Silje Nergaards next album Darkness Out of Blue.
Do you like these songs by Silje Nergaard? What other jazz or blues music do you listen to late at night? Tell me.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Tomorrow Saturday there will be a concert at Katalin and all that jazz with singer Vivian Buczek and the Claes Crona Trio featuring Johan Hörlen (saxophone). The concert is arranged by Uppsala Jazz Club and starts at 14.
The Claes Crona Trio consists of Claes Crona (piano), Jörgen Smeby (bass) och Petur ”Island” Östlund (drums). Johan Hörlen (saxophone) will replace Hector Bingert, who was initially announced to be playing with the band.
The band will play jazz standards, swing, some songs with latin influences as well as some original compositions by Vivian Buczek and Claes Crona.
Vivian Buczek will soon release her second album: Straight from my heart in April but you can buy it at the consert if you like. The picture above is the cover for her cd. Cover design by Pär Wolfner and photograph by Åsa Kristensson.
Have you heard them before? What do you think? Tell me.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Do you think school should be more fun? Well then, take a look at this video clip with Harry 'The Hipster' Gibson performing Keep the Beat! from the movie Junior Prom from 1946.
Jive talking Harry 'The Hipster' Gibson looks kind of wacky when he plays the piano but the music is swinging with a boogie woogie rhythm with bop scatting in the breaks. He is supported by the Abe Lyman Orchestra. In the video clip there is some swing dancing and even a minuet(?).
I just love the opening line of the video clip:
"and now my dear little zombies... "
I bet your teacher didn't say that to you. Or?
What do you think of this video clip with Harry 'The Hipster' Gibson? Tell me.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
MaryAnne (ysabellabrave) sings the jazz standard Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love) which was made popular by Billie Holiday. Wow! You must check this out!
MaryAnne is just amazing. It's easy to fall in love with her voice and her performance. She has got a sparkling and bubbly personality and a great sense of humour. She seems to have a great time and so does all people that watch her video clips. She makes me smile. If you haven't got a smile on your face after watching Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love), you should see a doctor (seriously!).
Ysabellabraves videos is very popular on YouTube, she got almost 20000 subscribers to her video channel! She sings a lot of swinging jazz and also some bluesy torch songs. MaryAnne sings other music styles as well.
Indiemusicman has a long interview with her: Ysabellabrave Talks Back. Another interview with MaryAnne is done by Robert Paul Reyes.
My favorite songs by MaryAnne:
You can find all ysabellabrave music videos either at her website: http://www.ysabellabrave.com/ or at her profile at YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/ysabellabrave
What do you think of Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love) and her other video clips? Which is your favorite song? Tell me.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Yesterday I started to see a big boost in the numbers of visitors to this blog. A little research revealed that the staff at Blogger has selected "Swing, jazz and blues" as an interesting and noteworthy blog. How cool is that!
Ok. If you're a new visitor, what should you start looking at?
I'd say: start with the blog posts that has video clips. They have music that makes you wanna dance.
What do you think of this blog? Tell me.
Tonight Ulf Carling will be the swing dj at Dekadans. Come there and dance to the swing music.
Tonight is a also Beginners Night where we try to get as many people there from the beginners courses and get them to have fun dancing socially.
During one hour in the beginning of the evening all experienced dancers dance only with beginners and get to know them.
I think this is a important thing to do, when you start dancing you are easily intimidated by experienced dancers. You think that they are too good to ask to dance because they will get bored because you don't know much stuff.
As an experienced dancer I can tell you that that is not the case as long as you are smiling and you're trying your best. We want you do become a better dancer but we know that it takes time. Knowing this, it might be easier to ask someone to dance, it's still a little bit intimidating, but you must be brave.
I always try to dance with two or three persons a night that I haven't danced with before. It's fun to get to know new people.
Now, a little bit more about Ulf Carling. Ulf is also a drummer in the Carling Family band. He always adds a good portion of humour when he plays drums. All his family is talented musicians, the most well known relative is his sister Gunhild Carling. Tonight at Dekadans, I hope he plays a private recording of One Oclock Jump from when Gunhild played with the Count Basie Orchestra. I really would like to have that recording myself because it's really great!
As a bonus I've found a old video clip from 1990 with Carling Hot Six playing "You're Driving me Crazy" with Ulf at the drums and his sisters doing a charleston dance routine.
The photo of Ulf Carling was taken by me and may not be used elsewhere without my permission.
Have you heard Ulf Carling play drums or dj? Tell me.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Today you're in for a real treat with this video clip of Ina Ray Hutton and Her Melodears playing the song "Truckin" (the song featured yesterday as well).
First of all, it's such a swinging song in a really good arrangement. A killer-diller!
Secondly, Ina Ray Hutton was so talented: she was a bandleader, singer, dancer and had a wonderful stage presence. To top it off, she was really good looking. Yes, I'm smitten.
Make sure to listen to the rhythms that Ina Ray Hutton is laying down with her tap dancing. I think they complement the band perfectly.
I think it's such a pity that there are so few well known women jazz musicians. I really would like to know more about them. Got any tips? I should of course get the book Swing Shift: "All-Girl" Bands of the 1940s by Sherrie Tucker.
You can find more info about her in the discussion thread at swingdjs.com.
What do you think of this video clip with Ina Ray Hutton and Her Melodears? Tell me.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Peter Lind and the Cabaret Band played at Uppsala Winter Swing, the jazz festival that took place here in Uppsala in January. The Cabaret Band plays swing and jazz mostly from the 1930's.
The band consists of Peter Lind (trumpet), Mats Josephson (trombone), John Högman, (saxophone och clarinet), Claes-Göran Skoglund (piano), Kjell Grundström (bass and tuba) and Björn Sjödin (drums).
Peter Lind is a wonderful entertainer who tells very good anecdotes about the swing era. They played two sets at the jazz festival and I enjoyed both of them.
They even did a small dance number of the song "(Everybody's) Truckin'". The jazz dance move Truckin' almost made it to Sweden. The footwork was lost but the shaking (waving?) of the finger can be seen in movies like "Swing it, magistern" featuring jazz singer Alice Babs.
Peter Lind and his Cabaret Band has an upcoming show called Stardust. Stardust is about jazz in Harlem. They talk about the stars that performed there, about how and why the melodies were written. They feature musicians like Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Bix Beiderbecke and Eddie Condon.
The show will be at Eklundshof in Uppsala, Sun March 25th. I don't know what the ticket situation is like. If you like to see Stardust, you better mail Björn Sjödin and inquire.
The photos are taken by me and may not be published elsewhere without written permission.
Have you seen Peter Lind and the Cabaret Band? What do you think of them? Tell me.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
What could be more appropriate late at night than a jazz jam session where the musicians gather and play ad lib, jammin' the blues, as in this video clip. They start out very bluesy and mellow but then the jazz music get faster and hotter. The short film from 1944 is directed by one of my favorite photographers: Gjon Mili.
Don't just listen to the wonderful swing and blues music, but also take time to enjoy how the set and the musicians are lit. Sweet! I like visual composition that Gjon Mili creates.
Marie Bryant sings "On the Sunny Side of the Street". I really like Lester Young who plays tenor saxophone and Harry Edison on trumpet. Barney Kessel on guitar was a new name to me, I have to research him a little bit more. In the video clip is also a good lindy hop sequence.
This film was nominated for an Oscar in 1944 in the category "Short subject (one reel)".
What do you think of the video clip "Jammin' the Blues"? Tell me.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Cab Calloway was known for his energetic way of leading his jazz orchestra. Did you think that hard rock fans invented head banging? No, that was Cab Calloway. Take a look at him in this video clip called Jitterbug Party from 1935.
The video shows Cab Calloway performing "Call Of The Jitterbug" and "Long About Midnight" at the Cotton Club in Harlem, New York. After the performance they walk through Harlem to a late night house party and in the end it looks like they are dancing some version of the shim sham.
I don't exactly know when the term "Jitterbug" was coined (do you?) but in this video clip it also refers to a person that drinks a little too much "jitter sauce".
What do you think of this video clip of Cab Calloway? Tell me.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Some jazz bands "just" played their music while other bands made an extra effort to really entertain the audience/dancers. A jazz orchestra that did the latter was the big band led by Cab Calloway. He had a very outgoing personality and put that extra energy into the performance that really made it entertaining.
In this video clip from the movie Stormy Weather Cab Calloway performs the song Jumpin' Jive followed by an amazing tap routine by the Nicholas Brothers.
This was the first clip I ever saw of the Nicholas Brothers and every time I'm surprised that they don't kick any musicians when they jump around in the bandstand. (A'int that a kick in the head?).
One of the things that I would like to point out in this video clip from Stormy Weather is the use of "call and response" (which Cab Calloway used a lot). The first occurrence is when he sings one bar of music and the band answers in the other bar in that phrase.
You also see call and response between the piano player and the Nicholas Brothers tapping on the piano and then of course between the Nicholas Brothers themselves.
What do you think of this video clip with Cab Calloway and the Nicholas Brothers? Tell me.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Glenn Miller Orchestra with Chattanooga Choo Choo featuring Dorothy Dandridge and the Nicholas Brothers
The Glenn Miller Orchestra played both swing and sweet music. I can't say that I'm particularly interested in his sweet music (ballads). But his swing music is good, here is a video clip with a really swinging version of Chattanooga Choo Choo with song and dance by the Nicholas Brothers & Dorothy Dandridge.
I'd love to be able to tap dance like them. So much energy!
What do you think of the video clip with Glenn Miller and Nicholas Brothers & Dorothy Dandridge? Tell me.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Don't miss swing dj Mohan Pakkurti at Dekadans tonight. Mohan tells us that he has some newly bought music from San Fransisco in his bag that he is excited to play. Dance and enjoy!
The photo of Mohan is taken by me at Uppsala Winter Camp and may not be used elsewhere without my permission.
Have you heard Mohan dj before? What do you think of his music? Tell me.
Soundies were an early version of the music video: three-minute musical films, produced by professional film crews in New York, Chicago, and Hollywood between 1940 and March, 1947. The films were displayed on the Panoram, a coin-operated film jukebox, in nightclubs, bars, restaurants, factory lounges, and amusement centers. [Wikipedia]
The documentary is presented by Michael Feinstein. Here is more information about the program.
It would be interesting to see this program because it gives an insight how melodies was performed in those days, that something you can't get just by listening to recordings. I'm looking forward to see the program sometime.
If you want to learn more about soundies check out "The Soundies Book: A Revised and Expanded Guide" by Scott MacGillivray and Ted Okuda.
Have you seen the soundies documentary? What do you think of it? Tell me.
Monday, March 12, 2007
Fyris Jazz Band played hot dixieland jazz at Katalin and all that jazz last Saturday. The concert was arranged by Uppsala Jazz Club.
The band consists of Per-Olov Österholm (cornett), Åke Johansson (clarinet), Jan Löfgren (trombone), Jan Strinnholm (piano), Erik Ojala (bass) and Richard Johnsson (drums).
Did you know that Fyris Jazz Band was the very first band to play at Katalin and all that jazz (that is: when Katalin moved to this location just by the central station 7 years ago). This was their second gig here. Per-Olov Österholm welcomed the audience back to their next performance here in 2014.
The concert broke the attendance record for the season.
All the photographs are taken by me and may not be used elsewhere without my permission.
Where you at the concert with Fyris jazz band? What did you think of it? Tell me.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Don't miss Grand Swing Party tonight!
Roger Nordling Swing Kvartett will play from 8 o'clock. Lots of dancing, lots of nice people, lots of everything good.
Entrance fee 80 kr (40 kr if you're under 18).
Grand is located at Trädgårdsgatan 5, Uppsala.
Let the good times roll!
Friday, March 9, 2007
Tomorrow Saturday, Fyris Jazz Band will play hot dixieland jazz at Katalin and all that jazz. The concert is arranged by Uppsala Jazz Club and starts at 14.
I think this will be a really good concert. Fyris Jazz Band has been playing together for more than 10 years and is based in Uppsala.
The band consists of Per-Olov Österholm (cornett), Åke Johansson (clarinet), Jan Löfgren (trombone), Jan Strinnholm (piano), Erik Ojala (bass) and Rickard Johnsson (drums).
The concert costs 180 kr (150 if you're a member of Uppsala Jazz Club or have a UNT-card).
See all my posts about concerts at Katalin.
Have you heard Fyris Jazz Band before? What do you think of them? Tell me.
Ps. Don't miss Roger Nordling Swing Kvartett later that evening!
Thursday, March 8, 2007
The March episode of the podcast Hey Mister Jesse where Jesse Miner and Manu Smith talks about swing music is now available. Great show as always.
This time they feature an interview with band leader George Gee of The Make Believe Ballroom Orchestra. His band is releasing a new cd later on this spring (sometime in April). In the show they play some not yet released songs and you can get even more songs from the coming album if you go to George Gee's MySpace page.
One of the songs on the new album is "All the cats join in" which was made popular in a animated cartoon where Benny Goodman played the song. Here is the video clip with the "All the cats join in" cartoon:
Read the show notes to get all the details and the links to more information about the songs och websites they talk about.
On the radio show Jesse and Manu had picked up the video clip with Count Basie and Ella Fitzgerald performing One O'clock Jump that I wrote about earlier. Thanks guys for reading this blog, it's really an honor for me.
I don't know how they produce the podcast but Jesse and Manu should do something about the echo you hear if you listen carefully. (That is the problem with listening, you start to hear things).
Today you can also listen on Yehoodi radio to Rob Moreland from Raleigh, NC, who is the guest swing dj for March. You can hear his music every Thursday through March.
Here is all my posts about Hey Mr Jesse.
What do you think of the March episode of Hey Mister Jesse? Tell me.
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
The Cats and the Fiddle plays the song Killin' Jive in this video clip. This is what I call a jazz band that really is out there to entertain the crowd. Great stuff.
Well, jazz band is not exactly right, they are more of a rhythm & blues vocal group. Here is more info about the group.
The Cats and the Fiddle is also known for songs as "Gang Busters" and "We Cats Will Swing For You".
Via The Jam Cellar blog.
What do you think of the video clip with Cats and the Fiddle? Tell me.
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
I just want to give you a heads-up on a upcoming event: Grand Swing Party. Grand Swing Party is a swing dance evening that our swing dance society Swingkatten arranges a couple times a semester.
On Saturday 10th, Roger Nordling Swing Kvartett will play at Grand. Roger Nordling is a talented saxofone player from Uppsala who has put together a quartet that will play at the dance. In the quartet are: Johan Stålgren (drums), Mattias Åström (bass) and Kalle Sjölin (piano).
Entrance fee: 80 kr (40 if you're under 18 years old).
Where: Grand, Trädgårdsgatan 5, Uppsala
When: Saturday March 10th, 20-01
Maybe I will dj a little bit then but mostly I will be the sound technician of the evening.
Monday, March 5, 2007
Sometimes you hear a piece of music that is simply irresistible, you must move to the music. Maybe you will not dance, but you just have to express what the music tells you to do.
Someone may see you and ask "How did you come up with that move?" and your answer is "I really don't know, the music made me do it!".
If you're not a musician yourself, you can always pretend that you are. That is what happens in this video clip where Jerry Lewis mime dances to Count Basie's "Cute" from the movie Cinderfella.
Those who have seen me dj know that I sometimes behave just like him, because:
I can't help it!
The music made me do it!
What do you think of the video clip with Jerry Lewis from Cinderfella? Do you also do this stuff? Tell me.
Crescent City Jazz is a trad jazz band from Uppsala and they had a concert yesterday at Stabbygården.
They played, among other songs: When You're Smiling, Royal Garden Blues, Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone and Jelly Roll Blues. They also played some of Gunnar Ekbohms own compositions.
Crescent City Jazz consists of: Gunnar Ekbohm (clarinet), Arne Andersson (cornett), P-O Östergren (trombone), Göran Carenbäck (tuba) and Jörgen Berlin (banjo).
About the name of the band: Crescent City is another name for New Orleans where much of the music they play originated. The name also plays with words in another way: until 1960 Uppsala was the town is Sweden which manufactured the most bicycles in the land and one brand was called Crescent.
The photos are taken by me and may not be used elsewhere without my permission.
Have you seen Crescent City Jazz? What do you think of them? Tell me.
Sunday, March 4, 2007
Every now and then I go through my picture archive to find jazz photos from previous events, this is one example. In January the Uppsala Winter Swing jazz festival was held and I was there taking photos all day.
One of the first concerts of the jazz festival was Skrapan Big Band featuring Ulf Johansson Werre. Skrapan Big Band is a band with high school students studying music at Lundellska skolan (aka Skrapan) in Uppsala. Ulf Johansson Werre is one of Swedens best jazz musicians and plays both trombone and piano excellently. Once upon a time he also went to school there.
Behind Ulf Johansson Werre you can see Johanna Grim on trombone who is also a member of The Silver Sextett which played at Youth Jazz Contest. At the festival Ulf J. Werre also played with John Högman International Group featuring Rémi Toulon.
Below is all the singers in the band. I don't have all their names in the correct order so if you can tell me who is who, I would appreciate that.
Skrapan Big Band didn't just play all jazz tunes but other styles of music as well. Many people think of big band music as only jazz when in fact it just means that you have a lot of musicians in the band. Is there a definition of big band music?
There is a lot of pictures from Uppsala Winter Swing but I won't publish them all at once so stay tuned.
The photos are taken by me and may not be used elsewhere without my permission.
Did you see Skrapan Big Band and Ulf Johansson Werre at Uppsala Winter Swing? What did you think of them? Tell me.
Saturday, March 3, 2007
This is the fifth 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?]
Part 5: Tell me about the next book you're writing
My next book “Satan in the Dance Hall: Social Dancing and Morality in 1920s New York” is as an interdisciplinary study of how the social, political, economic, and cultural events were intertwined with social dancing in New York City throughout the 1920s.
Arguably, no other period throughout American History is so closely identified with the freewheeling spirit of music and dancing, as did Prohibition, Jazz, dancing the Charleston, as did the 1920s. The perpetual image of the Charleston dance, Jazz music, flapper fashion, and flaunting prohibition is an indelible part of not only popular American history textbooks but also of folklore, legend, and especially Hollywood movies. However, what is lost to popular history is the fact that the 1920s were most likely the most morally disruptive period in American history, especially upon social dancing.
Americans were vehemently divided over Prohibition as many simply scoffed at the law and continued to drink and others proclaimed morality must be enforced by prosecution. Prior to Prohibition, many individuals drank at a neighborhood salon. During Prohibition, the saloons were closed and an “illegal” replacement called “speakeasies” emerged not only for drinking but also music, entertainment, and social dancing. Within cities such as New York, the speakeasy became a fashionable nightspot and newspapers heralded in the antics. To many supporters of Prohibitions, however, the speakeasies were viewed not only as contemptible lawbreakers but also as contributing to moral decadence.
Moral decadence was not only contained to the subject of alcohol. Throughout the country, Americans were continually besieged by a raging nationwide furor and debate between Fundamentalists and Modernists. Some of the most publicized issues included the nationwide push for Americanization, immigration quotas, eugenics, tabloid sensationalism, radio, mass produced automobiles, postal censorship, Hollywood movies, promiscuity, birth control, and the heavily publicized debate between evolution and creation culminating in the Scopes Monkey Trial. In the midst of all of the public and media attention, an almost innocent unwitting victim of the debate was social dancing.
The social dancing debate in New York City also paralleled the tenure of the Reverend John Roach Straton. In 1918, Straton assumed the pulpit at Calvary Baptist Church on West Fifty Seventh Street in New York. His condemnation certainly included all of the aforementioned nationwide issues, but some were specifically applied to New York City, which he viewed as “a modern Babylon.” Straton’s objections included card playing, jazz music, the Broadway theater, divorce, low-cut dresses, romance novels, the Museum of Natural History, boxing, nude art, anti-Catholicism, and even poodle dogs.
But his most ravage attacks were against social dancing and New York’s commercial dance halls. In an interview in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on March 26, 1922, Straton’s response to the commercial dance halls echoed with fire and brimstone. He bellowed:
“the very fires of Hell are raging at them in the slums, the [dance] palaces and amusement centers of the city and when multitudes of young men and young women are being swept away to eternal destruction.”
At the time, Straton’s exploits were well chronicled in all of New York City’s eleven major daily newspapers. Stanley Walker, for example, city editor of The New York Herald Tribune noted:
“Straton came out in favor of legislation which would prohibit all public dancing except the more seemly sort of mazurkas, such as were danced by David and other pious hoofers in the olden times. Indeed, he was opposed to virtually everything in the way of amusement that was going on in New York”.
What do you think of this upcoming book? Tell me.
Friday, March 2, 2007
One of my swing dj colleagues in Uppsala is Jonas Pettersson. I couldn't hear him dj last Wednesday at Zackes Jazz Corner at the dance studio Chicago in Stockholm ( run by The Harlem Hot Shots), so I asked him:
What is your favourite swing song right now?
It's "Mahogany Hall Stomp" by Louis Armstrong and His Savoy Ballroom Five, recorded in New York, March 5, 1929, Okeh #8680.
Can be found on "Armstrong, Louis – The Complete Hot Five and Hot Seven
Recordings" [4CD] [Columbia #63527].
Why that particular song?
Because it shows an amazing and very early example of the transition from the two-beat hot jazz of the twenties to the oncoming four-to-the-bar swing of the thirties. Listen to "Potato Head Blues" with Louis Armstrong and His Hot Seven on mentioned compilation for an example of "two-beat", same tempo as "Mahogany Hall Stomp", but with tuba and banjo, which gives it a completely different feeling compared to the more fluid swing of the string bass and guitar of "Mahogany Hall Stomp".
What is your favorite swing song right now? Tell me.
Thursday, March 1, 2007
Often jazz improvisation is similar to a good conversation. You both take turns talking and listening. You say your next sentence built on what the other person just said. Reacting but also adding new angles and introducing new topics.
Sometimes the conversation can get a little bit heated and turn into a dispute. This is shown excellently by weepingprophet in this video clip where he illustrates a jazz dispute between Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie "Bird" Parker.
The music in this video clip is "Leap frog" from the album Bird & Diz. I think this clip is hilarious.
What do you think of the video clip? Do you got any other video tips? Tell me.